Stephanie Missirian decided to create her maternity wear label – Heartstrings – when she couldn’t find stylish clothing during her own pregnancy. The Lebanese designer started her project when she was two months pregnant with her second child, in March 2020, leaving her job at a mobile advertising agency company in Beirut to focus solely on her new venture.
“I always had this idea in mind because during my first pregnancy, I was struggling to find maternity wear, especially in Lebanon,” says Missirian. “I used to travel to London and Dubai, but even there it was hard to find trendy maternity wear, like a nice dress or suit. I had to buy regular clothes and alter the size. And you don’t feel comfortable in regular clothes when you’re pregnant.”
After she earned a Bachelor’s degree in advertising and marketing, and a Master’s in media studies from Lebanon’s Notre Dame University (NDU), Missirian worked for six years in the media and marketing department of luxury department store Aïshti in Beirut. “I was always around fashion, planning events and fashion shows, and working on marketing plans for high-end brands,” Missirian says of her years at Aïshti. “I was amazed by the fashion, the brands, the cuts, the new looks I saw every season.”
Her love of style is infused into each Heartstrings clothing item. “There’s a trendy twist in every outfit,” Missirian says. “The clothes are fashionable yet comfortable.” She singles out the Heartstrings flowing orange dress: “It reflects a trend, with puffiness in the shoulders. It has a bit of edginess and sexiness, but it caters to pregnant women.” Other popular Heartstrings looks include the one-shoulder top, which is delightfully revealing and something you may not expect a pregnant woman to wear, and the dazzling pink jumpsuit, which has already sold out.
All heartstrings clothes are manufactured in Lebanon, and Missirian sources her materials solely from Lebanon as well. “Because of the terrible economic situation, I decided to encourage local production, so I work with Lebanese suppliers from A to Z.”
For the moment, Missirian’s maternity clothes are sold online, through the Heartstrings Instagram channel and the Heartstrings website, with most customers located in Lebanon and the GCC, but the designer wants to expand internationally, particularly to the UK, France and other international markets.
“I would also like to introduce other products related to pregnancy,” says Missirian, “and maybe eventually develop Heartstrings into a full-fledged brand that includes a maternity collection.”