Judith Solomon Special to the Jewish News | Photography by Paul Primeau
Need a new outfit for the holidays — or every day? A local mom has created a brand of chic modest and nursing-friendly pieces.
Tsippi Gross thought that a paucity of stylish yet accommodating clothing existed for women wanting “modesty” — both nursing mothers and observant women (including Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Mormon and Seventh Day Adventists).
So Gross, the wife of local rabbi Noam Gross and mother of three children ranging in age from 1 to 10 years old, decided she wanted to help remedy the problem.
The result? Havah Tribe, a company the Oak Park resident recently created, is currently selling 25 of her designs that range in price from $30 to $150 through both Instagram (@havahtribe) and also on her website. She also has recently staged pop-up shops in Toronto, Brooklyn, New Jersey, Chicago and Israel.
“What I do is much more than just clothing. It’s helping to make women feel supported and proud.”
— Tsippi Gross
Gross, 32, says she chose the name Havah because “it’s also the Hebrew word for Eve who was the first mother — and we are a very mother-oriented brand.” And she chose the word “tribe” because “it takes a village to raise a child and mothers should belong to a community that supports and empowers them.”
By using zippers in creative ways as well as concealed snaps and hidden panels, Gross has designed a number of nursing-friendly clothes. Those designs include her Sundrop dress, a long-sleeved, comfortable jersey A-line style (available in nine different colors and two different floral patterns) that “you would never know is nursing-friendly to look at but an extra-long zipper at the side unzips and makes it easy to nurse.
“This style has taken on a life of its own,” she says. “I’m even surprised at how popular it is.” Another bestseller is a pretty shirt, complete with a zipper hidden beneath its ruffles. “Both of these designs are very practical and when the mother is feeding, nothing is exposed,” she says. “But the main point of the brand is to support any woman throughout her motherhood journey so she feels beautiful and has clothing that makes her feel comfortable and great.”
Also, to specifically meet the needs of observant and/or modest women, many of Havah Tribe’s clothes feature high necklines, long sleeves and long skirts.
“On Instagram, we have also created a community culture — really a tribe — where we discuss women’s health issues a lot plus share recipes and talk about exercise,” Gross says. “Most importantly, we’ve created a space where mothers can send their questions and concerns, and where everybody answers each other’s questions.”
A new winter collection is scheduled to arrive online sometime in September. And Gross says she is excited to be providing clothes for Headwrap Expo, a multi-faith fashion show scheduled to take place in Dearborn on Oct. 14 and also for the Bridal Canopy charity fashion show in West Bloomfield on Nov. 18.
“What I do is much more than just clothing,” adds the designer. “It’s helping to make women feel supported and proud. I want them to appreciate that they are something amazing. And while my designs have been created with both nursing mothers and observant women in mind, I am touched by the outpouring of support from the single girls and older women in the community who choose to wear our clothes at all the stages of their lives.”