Luxury intimates often carry an association with frivolous gift giving, but in 2011 Kelly Elkin and Betony Dircks decided they would change just that, creating a sustainable sleepwear range that would fill a gap in the market rather than just a Christmas stocking. Their label ALAS (All Light All Shadow) uses soft, organic cotton accredited by the Global Organic Textile Society. Their fabrics are also produced without harmful pesticides, helping to reduce the flow of chemicals from crops into the community.
"Something as simple as buying a T-shirt can make a positive change, tell a story and improve many people’s lives," says Elkin. "By choosing to support ethical fashion, you can have a deeper connection with your clothes – it's not just a T-shirt anymore."
ALAS prints often reference cyclical patterns in the environment, a theme cleverly tied to the function of their product. To reflect the process from dreaming to waking, the girls use bright highlights on dull, muted tones to form unique tessellations of Australian native flowers and other motifs picked up from nature and their travels. A shape-shifting sequence of the moon is laser-cut into their packaging, which is made from recycled materials.
The environmentally conscious designers and long-time friends once spent time in London reworking vintage pieces to grace the floors of Topshop's major stores with new life. Now they are travelling to India each season to meet the artisans and producers who grow, spin, weave and dye their cotton. The traditional skills of artisans in rural villages have been incorporated into a contemporary collection. Their upcoming range will, for the first time, feature men's boxers that have been crafted from a hand-woven stripe.
Rather than trying to morally guilt-trip consumers, ALAS want to encourage people to take some time out for themselves and try some quality sleepwear that balances design, comfort and ethics.