As the early autumn sun filters onto the balcony of their Surry Hills studio, the designers of organic sleepwear brand ALAS’ – Betony Dircks and Kelly Elkin – are packing up orders of winter woollies and beginning their next collection. “One day we’re chasing invoices, the next we’re creating mood boards and colour schemes,” says Elkin. The pair makes a consistent effort to fill a hole in the sleepwear market, where, “Part of being sustainable is offering something that is not already there.”

ALAS’ autumn/winter 2014 collection, called Telescope, sees bold-patterned onesies and flowing nighties created with a colour palate reminiscent of mountains dissolving into a night sky. Illustrator and environmentalist Ernst Haeckel was cited as a key inspiration. “It was interesting stumbling across his work because details and symmetry in nature have been a constant theme throughout all of our collections,” says Dircks. The inspiration for the silhouettes, however, come from the golden age of cinema and photos of 1930s movie stars. “It’s like we’re trying to bring back actually chilling out,” adds Elkin, “from back in the day when it was luxurious to lounge around.”

On a recent trip to India, where ALAS is manufactured, the pair visited factories and garment producers. “We visited an organic cotton farm and saw the little seedlings coming up and could imagine the whole process from the seedlings right through to the finished garment,” says Dircks. These processes are reflected in Telescope’s prints of star networks and symmetrical plant patterns.

Inside the studio a stack of books sits at one end of the desk; Kandinsky and Nicolas Roerich, a taste of what’s to come in the next collection. Studio cat Villain is curled up in the patch of sunlight beside it, oblivious to the ideas springing up around him as ALAS continues its cycle.

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