November

ALAS SUMMER 14/15

The Slowpoke: ALAS SUMMER The Slowpoke: ALAS SUMMER

We love sleep. A lot. We know we’re very much not alone on that matter. And, the fact is, a solid night’s rest is just so darn good for us – whether it be for our heart, stress levels, or simply to allow our body and mind to replenish.

It goes without saying really, that sleeping in a natural environment and in natural clothing, minus chemical dyes and fabrics, is one very important factor in getting a good rest. ALAS knows just what we’re talking about. 

Three years ago Kelly Elkin and Betony Dircks established their line of organic sleep and loungewear in Sydney. Aiming to fill a gap that existed for organic, ethical-made and well-designed sleepwear they create soft and wearable “pieces for the quieter times in life”.

Their new range, ‘Mountain of Light’ has just gone hit their online store. Betony gave us a rundown on where ALAS has come from, and where they’re headed with their new range.

Tell us about ALAS – who works there and what you do?

Betony: “ALAS is currently run by just two people – Kelly and myself, although we are occasionally accompanied by our lovely intern. We work on all design together, while other aspects of the business are delegated – Kelly looks after sales and I manage production. Everything else we share pretty evenly, we are a good team. It is great to have a partner in the business, we bounce ideas off each other and are constantly giving each other (constructive) criticism and encouragement.”

What are your backgrounds, and what led to the start of ALAS?

“Kelly and I met on our first day of university, at QUT in Brisbane, almost eleven years ago. We were studying Fashion Design. For our graduate project we collaborated, and designed a collection using eco fabrics such as bamboo, hemp and organic cotton. We hand screen printed metres of fabric in our little studio under our house. We have been designing together ever since.

“After that we traveled Europe and lived in London for a few years, where we worked on an upcycled vintage clothing label. We also discovered London’s amazing Ethical Fashion Forum. I guess this is where we really consolidated our views and ideas about sustainability in fashion.

“After Europe we settled in Sydney, and decided to start our own label. We noticed a distinct lack of organic sleepwear in Australia, so that’s how ALAS was born. We also thought it would be fun to design pyjamas, and that we could really explore the world of prints… some people are not keen to wear prints in every day life but with your sleeping attire you can be a bit more out there!”

What is a sustainable approach to clothing important to you?

“For Kelly and I it is common sense to design with a sustainable and ethical approach. It is important to us that we consider the social and environmental impact of the work that we do… otherwise it seems somewhat meaningless. Plus we figure that if we take a positive stance then perhaps it will trickle down to the consumer. We hope that our decisions will in turn inspire our customers to consider this way of thinking.

“There is a growing global movement of both designers and consumers who are taking notice of the injustices within the world of clothing production – from the cotton farmers to the garment workers – and creating positive change. Another aspect of our stance is that people will continue to wear clothing, so why not provide them with better options – clothing that is practical, beautiful and sustainable, all at once?”

What inspired the new range?

“We started designing our new collection while we were travelling in India a year ago. We spent a fair bit of time in the South, in Tamil Nadu where our knitwear factory is, and Kerala, where we went to visit some amazing weaving co-ops. Kerala was particularly beautiful, coconut trees everywhere and a much slower pace of life to the rest of the country. Incredible food, too!

“We were mesmerised by the vibrant hues and patterns everywhere…. the result being a print-heavy collection dripping with movement and colour. It is quite intense really, when you see all the garments together, but that is a direct reflection of our experience of India. The name ‘Mountain of Light’ is the translation of ‘Koh-i-Noor’ – the diamond that was discovered in India hundreds of years ago. We liked the story of the the diamond, how it changed hands so many times and was a treasure to many, but we also liked the name ‘Mountain of Light’. We felt that it somehow symbolised our desire to shine light on the garment supply chain… for it to become something pure and celebrated, not something disguised or unjust.”

To get yourself into some new bed threads and to see the full range – which also includes a new handwoven slipper collaboration – visit ALAS at www.alasthelabel.com.

The Slowpoke: ALAS SUMMER The Slowpoke: ALAS SUMMER The Slowpoke: ALAS SUMMER The Slowpoke: ALAS SUMMER The Slowpoke: ALAS SUMMER Sleepwear: ALAS

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1 comment:

  • Di Core

    Very enterprising! Well done Kelly & Bet. What a creative way to make sleep so appealing too. Beautiful sleep attire. ‘Bon chance’ & keep creating. Di

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