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Five Minutes With: ALAS

Interview by Yasmine Ganley

Being the middle of winter, thoughts of sleep-ins, lazy mornings, and cosy nights by the fire start to enter our minds. What better way to spend all that down-time than in beautiful sleepwear by ALAS.

Comfortable on the body and on the mind, ALAS have a highly ethical production practice which puts them high on our list of brands to support. The skilled hands of Indian artisans hand-craft ALAS, weaving soft stripes into flannel fabrics, while others smooth slabs of bright ink into silk screens to turn their prints into a reality. The range is made of hand-loomed wovens and supple organic jersey, both just waiting to share a snuggly moment.

We wanted to know more about this process, their creation, and the design team behind the luxurious sleepwear brand. We were lucky enough to speak with Kelly and Betony from ALAS about their recent trip to India, and building a brand based on respect.

Read our interview with the ALAS girls below. ALAS is available at The Dressing Room on level one of The Department Store. Call us on (09) 488 0585.

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THE NEWS: Tell us about the ethos behind the ALAS brand.

ALAS: The ALAS ethos is built on respect- respect for those producing the collection, the earth we live on and the customers that buy our clothes! Making sure we are aware that every decision we make can have positive or negative impact.

THE NEWS: Why did you decide to focus on sleepwear?

ALAS: Both Betony and I have a background in ethical fashion, mostly womenswear, however we thought it would be fun to try something new and a little different. We couldn’t find any exciting sleepwear and considering everyone sleeps every night it’s kind of important that we are in something comfy, guilt free and well designed! You can have way more fun with prints too because people have more confidence wearing colours behind closed doors!

THE NEWS: Who is the ALAS girl you are designing for?

ALAS: We don’t have anyone specifically… but someone that relishes in cosy times and likes to escape!

THE NEWS: Tell us about the sourcing of your fabrics. What made you decide to commit your brand to having an ethical approach in resourcing?

ALAS: For us, it just seems commonsense, if we are ever going to create something that is made by someone else we need to be responsible for it. Whether it’s the materials, farmers, producers, every choice we make throughout the supply chain has repercussions.

Plus it is such an exciting concept – to indulge in good design and still benefit others! Why not make a positive impact and minimise our harm of the environment, especially when the bulk of the fashion industry is doing the oppposite!

We produce in India, everything is grown, spun, woven and dyed there. We were attracted to India because of it’s reputation for high quality organic cotton and their long standing tradition of craftsmanship. We literally travelled all across India with reckless rickshaw drivers to many unkown destinations (even to locals!) to try and track down who was genuine and who was not. There are many confusing/terrifying/funny moments in that 45 degree heat!

Moments of traipsing through slums to get to clean, well-lit, well-ventilated buildings filled with women laughing (probably at this sweaty, gangly foreigner trying to explain a design to them) are definitely times for us to cherish!

THE NEWS: Your trips to India sound amazing, working alongside producers, can you tell us how these trips have influence your brand/ethos?

ALAS: I think going to India and realising the immense poverty and pollution really instilled the importance of doing things right from an ethical point of view for us. Knowing that you are contributing to jobs and practices that help build communities and empowers people is the most encouraging thing of all.

THE NEWS: Tell us about where you are based, and what you love about living and working from here.

ALAS: We are based in Sydney, which is a very beautiful city, surrounded by amazing nature. In summer we swim at one of the gazillion beaches (our favourite is Gordon’s Bay) and in winter we go for long walks up in the Blue Mountains. There is endless inspiration here. I love it that we can be so close to all this nature yet be living in the middle of a bustling, exciting city. We are surrounded by great friends, many of which are young entrepreneurs like ourselves which really helps us keep going!

THE NEWS: What would an ideal night spent in ALAS consist of?

ALAS: Good records, good wine and good company.

THE NEWS: Music you are currently loving?

ALAS: Dirty beaches, Unkown Mortal Orchestra, Sharon Van Etten, Jeans Wilder, Pj Harvey, No Zu, Kurt Vile, Julia Holter…

THE NEWS: What are you working on at the moment?

ALAS: A film for our all-over-print all-in-ones! We have just finished casting an insanely talented and flexible dancer to show off just how comfy our PJ’s are!

THE NEWS: Any ideas, inspirations that are on your mind?

ALAS: Too many ideas, just not enough time to do them all! At the moment in the studio there is a weird combination of inspiration. Colour and print wise- we are sinking our teeth into Ernst Haekel illustrations and deep sea documentaries but we have also had a slight obsession with the 80’s dance aerobics phenomena for our film! Did you know Jaime Lee Curtis can move her hips better than anyone?!

THE NEWS: Best movie to watch in bed?

ALAS: Ohhh that’s a tricky one.. depending on mood I say The Untouchables for a heart breaking/uplifting tear jerker, or The Breakfast Club for something light and easy.

THE NEWS: Best way to spend a Sunday morning?

ALAS: Lazy breakfasts, some sunlight, quiet times.. maybe a venture to the food markets, and some good gardening.

THE NEWS: Benefits of wearing a onesie?

ALAS: As my mum would say, “to keeps your kidneys warm..” and she would be right! But I would say the unusual effect it has on making you move! As soon as you put it on you just feel like jumping about the place! (I have obviously been watching way too much Flash Dance lately!)

THE NEWS: What is coming up for you this year that you are excited about?

ALAS: Lots of exciting overseas expansions and local collaborations, and more exciting ways to enjoy ALAS! Think beyond pyjamas… but keep it in the bedroom!

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Have a look over these beautiful images taken by Kelly and Betony’s on their recent trip to India.

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