Punk is not dead. It’s alive and well… and full of girls. Girls in the punk scene who grow up to become women in the punk scene. Women who may decide to have babies one day. Becoming a mom doesn’t define who we are. It also should not mean we have to give up our pre-baby sense of identity or change how we dress.
Unless you’re a mom, it’s unlikely that you really consider clothing as an aspect of breastfeeding support. Finding things to wear can be devastating for an already emotional, sleep-deprived new mom (who has not fit into her ‘normal’ clothes for months while sharing her body with a tiny human).
Maybe the typical clothing options are okay for some women. Perhaps some women like the nursing clothes available… but they aren’t for everyone. Now thanks to the creative genius that is Hannah McFaull and her business partner April Hobbs, all of us punk moms (and metal, alternative, and geek moms alike!) can still dress like ourselves – without sacrificing the practicality of a nursing shirt to feed our punks-in-training.
In November 2017, Hannah and April launched And Out Come the Boobs. A small venture born out of society’s dire need for epic clothes with better boob access.
“It was an idea that sort of came to me when I was breastfeeding my first kid. I was really struggling with breastfeeding and being a new mom. One of the things I was struggling with the most was having to find a new way of being me. It sounds really weird to say, but your clothes can be a big part of that – of how you express who you are, especially as a punk. After I had my daughter, I wasn’t expecting to have the same struggles in terms of being able to find clothes that I felt like me in. A lot of the breastfeeding clothes that I found on the market were hideous, like straight up grim.” ~ Hannah McFaull
When Hannah’s daughter was only 4 months old, she attended the Rebellion Music Festival. She recalled standing in front of her closet thinking ‘what on earth am I going to wear?’. She began searching for something that would be practical enough to breastfeed in at a festival, and still let her feel like herself. Hannah pointed out that as much as we try to change the narrative, punk is still a very male-dominated scene. Providing women with a way to help them feel more confident and comfortable while nursing (because they aren’t having to give up a part of their identity) is a huge thing.
However, it wasn’t until April gave birth to her child and both women were breastfeeding, that these rad moms got started. “We said [to each other] if we feel like this, then this is something that I’m sure other people feel like as well. Maybe there’s the opportunity to do something” says Hannah.
How does AOCTB transform t-shirts of your favourite bands into breastfeeding-friendly additions to your wardrobe? The concept is so simple, it’s pure genius – by adding well-hidden zippers, allowing moms to feed their mini-punks at any time or place with a quick zip! Placements of the openings vary, depending on the original design of the shirt.
These punk supermoms acquire shirts from a variety of places, including their own wardrobes, and sometimes even from folks they know. “We’ve had some friends who aren’t the size they were in their 20s. Now they’re big, fat punk rock guys approaching their 50s and they’re like ‘my wife says I have to get rid of all my shirts’ but they are all really rad shirts” Hannah says, chuckling.
Since their launch, AOCTB have released three collections; including shirts from bands such as Rancid, Operation Ivy, Black Flag, Subhumans, Bishops Green, The Queers, Leftover Crack and the Dickies.
Not a punk fan? No worries. They’ve got you… with an upcoming collection featuring shirts from Monty Python, Star Wars, Harry Potter and other gems to satisfy your inner geek!
If you love the idea but still can’t find one that screams ‘this is me!!!’ And Out Come the Boobs also takes custom orders. So send your fave shirt to them for alteration; or request a certain band shirt and they might be able to find it. Custom orders only take about 2-3 weeks from the time they get the order to them mailing it out. Definitely something to keep in mind if you’re looking for that perfect baby shower gift!
Hannah and April are very supportive of small businesses and are looking to take part in some future collaborative fundraising efforts with other female-run record labels, clothing and skateboarding companies. One company AOCTB have been talking to is a women’s motorcycle company called SheWolf, who takes a portion of their profits and donates them to various animal charities.
They are also hoping to continue giving back to the community by partnering up with charitable organizations for other fundraising endeavors, like their Mother’s Day donation to the La Leche League. When I asked if AOCTB would be willing to take donations of gently worn shirts, Hannah replied “Absolutely! And I think if that was the case, we would be able to say take those shirts we could donate a percentage of those to a non-profit as well. That’s definitely something we’ve talked about as well so if folks do have shirts that they would like to donate, get in touch with us and we can work things out”.
So, the next time you are cleaning out your closets, reach out to them to see how to get your husband’s snug-fitting shirts into their hands to help keep the DIY heart of the punk scene alive… and maybe help out a good cause in the process!