To socialize or talk informally preferably over a drink. Word forms: 3rd person singular present tense hobnobs, present participle hobnobbing, past tense, past participle hobnobbed.
But honestly. Hobnob is a safe space for women who prefer iced coffee over a perfectly curated wardrobe. It’s is a daycare center for women who are intrigued by trends, but also don’t care. It is an open bar for those who swear on vintage Chanel and whose pension funds hang in their closets.
For those of you who haven’t crossed your path with this amazing PJ brand here is a short introduction. Sleeper is a brand of ethically crafted, high-quality, multipurpose garments designed to help you feel beautiful — regardless if you are wearing Sleeper on the streets, or in the comfort of your own home. It was launched in 2014 by two former fashion editors Kate Zubarieva and Asya Varetsa. On one Christmas night, one of the founders had a dream about her standing in the middle of a pajama factory. The next winter Sleeper debuted with Winter Collection FW14-15, which was highly regarded by the editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia Franca Sozzani who named Sleeper the brand of the month. Ironically, the brand was one month old at that time. In February of 2019, brand founders made European Forbes’ list of 30 Under 30.
So, Hobnob came across this amazing, fun and fancy sleep walking brand around two years ago and though “where have all these feather PJ’s been all our life??”. Some parties in Sleeper PJ’s later we now finally got the chance to have a little chat with the founders Kate and Asya about the universe of PJ brand.
Good morning Sleeper! First of all, how are you?
We`re doing great, thank you so much! Already busy with all the holiday rush, just like anyone else. And how are you?
We are doing great, thank you! Busy and excited going skiing next week. Please tell us about your story, how did you become Sleeper?
We both came from the fashion industry. We used to work as fashion editors for leading magazines in Russia and Ukraine. I was a fashion editor for ELLE Russia, Kate was an editor-in-chief for a Ukrainian local fashion magazine Pink. We think we achieved some points in our careers so our experiences pushed us to create something new, something that belonged to us.
Speaking of work as an editor, it was certainly the most serious foundation forunderstanding how the fashion industry works from within. I would say that it’s impossible to imagine Sleeper without editorial experience. It has become the best school we could imagine.
The idea to create home wear occurred in the end of 2013 during Kate’s deepChristmas nap after watching “Curly Sue” where she was standing in the middle of apajamas factory. In the morning, she called me with the proposition to start a company ofhome clothes. In a week I accepted the idea but suggested making the walking sleepweargarments and not just home clothes. 6 months later Sleeper launched its first collection. Intwo more months, then editor-in-chief of Vogue Italy, Franca Sozzani, named Sleeper thebrand of the month. Ever since then, Christmas has been Sleeper’s favorite time of theyear.
Going from being fashion editors to fashion designers, what have been the toughest part? Any fears? The best? And the funniest?
It seems to us that a person can handle any outside challenges if he or she canhandle the inside ones. When we started a company, there was a terrible situation in thecountry, we had military operations on the streets. Compared to that, the fear of failure looksabsolutely comical and not serious. That’s why it gave us such endurance. I would say thatthe biggest challenge of brand development is my and Asya’s growth, there is nothing moredifficult than to become a better version of yourself all the time, the best version of theleader.
This is the biggest challenge that we had, have and will have. Because the mostbeautiful thing that makes the sense of our existence is internal growth, in the professionaland human sense.”
Actually my sense of style did not change, and everything I liked back then is what we are reflecting in Sleeper now.
My style also did not change much as well. When I worked as a stylist it wasimportant for me to dress comfortably, and I think Sleeper items are all about comfort, nomatter where you are.
You have for sure made leisurewear/PJ’s with a new luxurious twist, was that the plan from the beginning? Sleeper is what dreams are made of – literally. What was your idea behind the first design/style?
The concept of Sleeper lies in the idea of the first walking sleepwear brand. We have decided that namely pajamas and home wear will be in our brand’s DNA. We came up with the idea of leisurewear, which one can wear outside, i.e. you can wear pajamas top to the office instead of a regular shirt; a silk white pajamas can serve as a wedding outfit, etc.
We favor the idea of unassuming chic of everyday life. You wake up in your pajamas, throw over a coat, slip in sneakers or mules, and voila: you are ready to go out for your morning cup of coffee. For us, it is also about the aesthetics of the real entity. We wanted to create real pajamas, a true thing that surpasses its original and expected purpose. That’s what really inspired us.
We have decided to create garments for life’s happy moments. It’s hard to imagine a girl in a white linen dress with its shoulders lowered, having a serious and grumpy face. And obviously, we make dresses and pajamas for special occasions: when we rest, go to the beach or travel. And we really like these aesthetics. It’s about happiness. We believe that such women are fully equipped to enjoy life.
What has been your key to creating a successful brand?
Asya and I do everything grandly: when we are working on a design, we completely immerse ourselves in it, and our task is to make it A+.
We are completely devoted to each process – this applies to customer service, to the way our production works, and what our relationships within the team is.
“We really wanted to build the company possessing its own permeating aesthetics, which would infiltrate everything: our product, our internal relationships, our shootings, even our approach to solving problems and finding the solutions. We were aspired to make such an integral product so that we would experience catharsis it was made by us. That was our mission: to create a masterwork of quality, humanity, and marketing.”
– Kate and Asya
If you only had to wear one Sleeper piece for the rest of your life, which one would that be? And why?
I’m so in love with our Oversize sets! I have them almost in every single color! Haha.
It’s hard for me to pick only one item, because Sleeper has so many different categories now, but if I had to choose it would be our shearling slippers. I would wear only them and nothing else (haha). They are very comfy.
Can you tell us about the production of your garments? What do you think interms of sustainability, slow fashion, manufacturing etc?
We’re doing our best to build a sustainable brand. Since our founding in 2014 wehave taken significant steps to understand our social and environmental impacts. In general,there is no waste in our production. We produce exactly as many clothes as we can sell. Wehave selected only a few fabric suppliers, which makes it fairly simple for us to control thequality of materials our clothes are made of. We use lots of linen in our collections. Actuallyit’s our favorite material. Linen is a natural and ecological fabric produced from plants andfully biodegradable.
Because we produce locally, all of our garments are hand-crafted by artisans with theminimal involvement of machinery and allowing us to reduce carbon emissions. It is veryimportant for us to ensure decent working conditions. We keep our workplaces safe, offercompetitive salaries, formal employment, paid vacations and sick pays to all our employees.
“In terms of design and production, we are passionate about rethinking classics which never go out of style and stand for slow fashion and long-lasting designs. It’s important for us to create pieces for the long haul, which could still remain chic over the years.”
What is your biggest dream with the brand?
We have a dream to open a learning center where we’ll be sharing our experiences and educating new generations of seamstresses, embroiderers, engineers, technologists to design first-class clothes. Also, we will thrive to create unique and ecological models not only for production but for internal relationships at the company as well. We are confident that design doesn’t end with the garment. The design also represents the way the clothing was produced.
It is very important for us that Sleeper would be associated with comfort and home. When your house is full of beautiful things, full of light and easiness, it can really inspire you. In such a place you can even write an opera for example.
We want our homes to be places of inspiration. Filled with beautiful items, including Sleeper items, they can actually become spaces where people can create something really beautiful.
I am about to invest in my first Sleeper pieces, which one should I get? Andwhy?
We think that for Stockholm, especially for the winter holidays, the best purchase would be our new Lulu flats, because they are warm and cozy, and they are the best to celebrate New Years Eve in.
Our Lulus are great to do Christmas shopping in. And they are just perfect to cheer you up if you’re feeling low because of cloudy scandinavian weather.
And finally, what are you doing this weekend?
Read more about sleeper and treat yourself with one of their amazing PJ’s here.
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