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The Dressing Disruptor

Magnetic Me has made changing clothes child’s play while revolutionizing the snug fit and chemical-free fabric needed for government sleepwear regulations.

Playwear from Magnetic Me

Playwear from Magnetic Me

A magnet changed  the game. Magnetic fasteners for the multiple changes that a newborn needs every day meant faster dressing, less fussy babies and calmer first-time parents. Replacing Velcro, snaps and buttons with magnets for sleepwear and playwear opened up a world of possibility—and business.

Since the inception of Magnetic Me in 2008, co-owners Lauren Levy and Lawrence Scheer have attracted top-notch design talent to their company. Earnshaw’s spoke to Levy about the proprietary RightFit fabric, their dedication to sustainability, and their expanded collections and new licensing deal for 2024. Hint: It’s the most magical place on Earth.

Earnshaw’s: How many people are on your design team? 

Lauren Levy: Magnetic Me has grown our magnetic-fastening technology into many new categories this year. We have increased to seven people on the design team and are proud of leveraging our New York City location to attract super stars. Our director of product is from Coach, our print designer came from Tommy Hilfiger and our kids’ designer came from Zara.

As we expand into toddler and big kids’ playwear and pajamas, and men’s and women’s pajamas and loungewear, we are laser-focused on designing products that parents want to buy. Our team obsesses over high-end details, super soft fabrics, and designs that delight both kids and adults. Then we add our special sauce, which is providing thoughtful dressing solutions using our patented fasteners that make people’s lives easier. And on top of that, all our print designs are custom and bespoke for us. We are parents, too, so we design the types of clothing that our kids would wear and makes dressing easier for the entire family.

Earnshaw’s: How is designing with a magnetic system different from traditional Velcro, snaps or buttons?

Levy:  Designing with magnets is much harder, more expensive and requires more thought, time, testing, innovation, ingenuity, and quality control. We spend a lot of time assessing styles where a magnet would significantly improve the functionality over snaps and buttons. We developed our proprietary SewSafe construction to ensure the extra quality control that we need.

Earnshaw’s: What is RightFit? 

Levy:  RightFit is our groundbreaking fabric that offers a roomy yet super soft design without the use of toxic flame retardants. From the time we started this business, we saw how frustrated parents were with the drastic sizing changes that happen when your baby grows out of their 6-9M size and into their 9-12M pajamas due to government sleepwear regulations. Parents don’t know that the tight fit laws exist or that they are based on size specs from decades ago. It’s difficult when they must choose between dressing their baby in an outfit that fits so tight in every dimension or one that is treated with cancer-causing flame retardants. I knew we could solve this issue and give parents a fabric that follows the law, is naturally flame resistant, gives them a relaxed fit and is still really soft and looks great.

Earnshaw’s: With the cost of magnets being high, how do you keep your pricing from getting too high?

Levy:  Our team works diligently to create products with custom prints, thoughtful design, high quality manufacturing, and sustainable fabrics at a price point that is fair and reflective of the quality. We refuse to compromise on quality, design and safety

Nursing shawl from Magnetic Me

Nursing shawl from Magnetic Me

Earnshaw’s: Your company has a major commitment to sustainability. Talk about all your efforts to be eco-conscious.

Levy:  Our commitment to sustainability resulted in the rise in popularity of viscose from bamboo. We did extensive research and found deeply concerning issues with the environmental impacts of using bamboo. These factors were troubling: the traceability of the natural material when ancient forests are sometimes removed to plant more bamboo, the toxic way it’s often manufactured using chemical solvents that can’t be reused so it gets dumped into the water supply, and the impact of those solvents on factory workers’ reproductive health. The end-use fabric is also not as durable, it often pills and runs, and that has environmental impacts, too.   

As parents and business owners, bamboo wasn’t something we were comfortable using so we searched until we found Lenzing Modal. This is a comparably soft fabric that is fully traceable from seed to mill, and harvested and produced in the most sustainable and environmentally friendly way possible, with the highest durability for the end user.  As we grew—and especially during the pandemic—we made an effort to go as eco-friendly as possible. We switched our cotton to fully certified organic, and our packaging, tags and labels are all reusable or made from recycled materials.

Earnshaw’s: How would you describe the design aesthetic for the new collections? What’s new for 2024?

Levy:  I see Magnetic Me as if Kate Spade and Paul Smith had a grandchild, and that design concept guides our way. It’s a New York / London style that’s colorful, has a witty sense of humor, hidden details, and is able to evolve with trends. We are launching new licensed product with Disney that feature luxe designs to cater to toddler and big kids while giving a super high-end, boutique feeling.

For pajamas, we are expanding our RightFit fabric to new body styles like girls’ nightgowns and our ‘Classic with a Twist’ pajamas in toddler and big kid sizes. Our new nursing line expands to streetwear, too. In terms of the vibe for 2024, Magnetic Me has always been about embracing color and we will continue to do that while serving the needs of different audiences like grandparents, gift givers and parents that prefer more subtle tones.

Earnshaw’s: What’s been the best aspect of designing Magnetic Me?

Levy:  In 2023, we travelled the country visiting boutiques and talking to store owners and managers to hear what their customers are looking for from us and finding out more about their needs. We also saw how they merchandised their stores so we can serve them better. We learned so much and loved hearing what matters to them.

Earnshaw’s: What advice do you have for other designers in childrenswear?

Levy: To truly consider your environmental impact on the world when you are choosing your materials. You can still make a buck by sourcing fabrics that are made responsibly and can leave the world to our kids with no adverse impact. It benefits all of us and our families and we owe it to them.

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