Sarah Pottharst, the founder and designer of Per Vigore, earned a certification in Haute Couture Embroidery from the House of Lesage in Paris. She honed her skills over many seasons with Oscar de la Renta’s Runway, Bridal, Lingerie, and Loungewear teams. A native of New Orleans, she graduated from Southern Methodist University in Texas before earning a degree in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design in New York City. She launched Per Vigore in March of 2017 and splits her time between Venice, Italy and Asheville, NC. Follow Sarah’s chronicles of Italian life on Per Vigore’s Instagram account, @PerVigore.

The Story Behind The Concept

In early 2016, at the height of the Zika Virus scare, Sarah Pottharst received exciting news from her brother and his wife – she would be an aunt before the end of the year. The couple lives in Charleston, SC where the summers are sweltering and mosquitos unrelenting, so they wanted to take precautions against the virus. The mosquito-borne illness has been linked to many disturbing health effects, most notably as babies develop in the womb and in their early years.

Sarah’s sister-in-law asked her to design garments from insect-repellent fabric that would be appropriate for both work and social gatherings. Only camping and hiking brands were using this fabric at the time. That discovery inspired Sarah to develop a clothing line for women who need mosquito protection in their everyday lives.

As Sarah combed through the maternity market to find inspiration in “crowd favorite” silhouettes, she discovered they were mostly designed for the second and third trimesters to accommodate a growing belly. Zika can affect women at all stages of pregnancy so she set out to create designs that would adapt to a woman’s body and flatter her regardless of size.

As a result, Per Vigore’s clothes are truly transitional. They are expertly crafted to flatter expectant and new mothers. This unique quality places the line in a category of its own, bridging the gap between “Maternity” and “Ready to Wear” to provide all women style and protection.