EDMONTON - After watching her sister suffer sleepless nights while undergoing chemotherapy, Lara Smith wanted to find a fashionable and effective solution for a problem many women will face in their lifetime.
Hormone changes resulting from breast cancer treatment left Smith’s 40-year-old sister coping with hot flashes and other symptoms similar to menopause. Seeing she was unable to sleep comfortably in regular cotton clothing, Smith developed Lusomé, a sleepwear line of classic and feminine pieces designed to pull moisture away from the skin.
Around 80 per cent of women will experience night sweats at some point in their lives, Smith said, whether through menopause, hormone therapy or chemotherapy.
“Women are suffering in silence with all of this, so it was just so obvious that I had to figure out a way to help,” she said. “I wanted to do something solution-based that would help women. It’s the notion of social responsibility and solving the problem in a beautiful way, and I had the ability to go figure that out. That was compelling.”
Born and raised in Edmonton, Smith graduated from the University of Alberta before heading to Toronto in 1988 to work as a fashion buyer. Her 20 years of experience in the industry gave her the resources to start her sleepwear line, which just launched in March.
Lusomé — an ancient Scottish word meaning ‘desirable’ — offers 10 sleepwear garments in neutral colours ranging from lace-trimmed shorts to classic button up T-shirts, nightgowns and long pants. Each garment style is named after a woman in Smith’s family, and is available in sizes extra small to extra large.
Every ultrasoft piece is made with Drylon, a chemical-free material that pulls moisture away from the body so that it can quickly evaporate, keeping women cool and comfortable. Many women who experience night sweats are told by their doctors to wear cotton, Smith said, but cotton acts like a sponge, keeping the moisture in the fabric.
Similar to athletic gear, Lusomé’s fabric will continue to pull moisture away from the body, even after multiple washes.
“The key to keeping cool is keeping the moisture away from your body,” Smith said. “We are one-way moisture transport and it’s a push-pull effect. So it’s inherent in the construction of the fabric and the types of fibres that we use.”
Despite launching only a few months ago, 37 stores across North America currently carry the clothing, and Smith is in negotiations with a major Canadian retailer. She plans to include more bold colours in upcoming collections and eventually introduce intimates such as panties, tank tops and bras.
Regardless of the cause of night sweats, Smith said the sleepwear line offers a stylish solution for uncomfortable symptoms.
“It opened my eyes seeing what my sister was going through,’ she said. “You can feel beautiful and desirable even as you’re going through all of the nasty stuff that your body has to go through. We do have a good solution out there, there is relief for women.”
Select Lusomé sleepwear can be purchased at Cloud Nine Pajamas, 12511 102nd Ave.
The full line can be purchased at lusome.com
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