Hinda Miller





1950–

AMERICAN

FITNESS CLOTHING DESIGNER, DISTANCE RUNNER

Hinda Miller was the co-developer of the Jogbra, one of the truly iconic items in the history of women's fashion. In 1977, Miller was a Vermont clothing designer who had taken up distance running for fitness. Miller and two other women were searching for a solution to the problems they were encountering with respect to being able to run comfortably. Miller and other women found that without adequate support for their breasts, the natural rhythm of the running motion created significant strain on the supportive tissues of their breasts, as well as friction created by the outer apparel against their nipples and other sensitive skin.

Miller and her colleagues designed a bra that was modeled to a certain degree after the features of the male athletic supporter. The bra that Miller designed was fashioned with external seams only, appearing when worn as if it were inside out. In this fashion, Miller greatly reduced the effect of friction from the outer garment to the skin of the breast. The design also permitted the breasts to be held in a much more stable position, so as to reduce the excessive movement that was cumbersome for female runners who wished to run more quickly and efficiently. The Jog-bra was a design that served as an example of the dictum, "form follows function."

The Jogbra was almost an instant commercial success. Miller saw her design and the resulting appeal of the garment as a feminist statement, an article of clothing that served to empower women by making athletic participation much easier. Miller served as the president of Jogbra until 1990, when the company was sold to the multinational women's apparel manufacturer, Playtex. Miller subsequently parlayed her commercial success with the Jogbra into a political career; Miller was elected a state senator in Vermont for the first time in 2002.

A version of the original Jogbra is displayed at the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C., as an example of twentieth century technology. The Jogbra was the first example of the garments now known generally as sports bras, an industry that has grown in direct proportion to the increased participation of women in athletics generally since 1977.

SEE ALSO Musculoskeletal injuries; Women's sport clothing and protective equipment.