The Stella Rise Of Fashion Startup, Sleeper

Sleeper is the fashion startup that supports the idea of what they refer to as “walking sleepwear,” where daywear meets nightwear (and it's super chic). Founded in Kyiv in 2014 by 20-somethings Kate Zubarieva and Asya Varetsa, it was fully self-funded with the startup capital of just $2,000. And impressively, by 2017 the brand has grown by 150% in revenue and up 500% from 2014, proving nighties-come-day dresses are a hot commodity.

Sleeper Judas Tree Dress ModelSleeper

And does Sleeper get better? Yes, it does, as there is a focus on the people aspect of the brand. The company cares about people making its garments, ensuring fair working conditions, competitive salaries, formal employment and safe workplaces. In addition, all pieces are made-to-order meaning there is no excessive production. This has won them a legion of followers, from Leandra Medin, Emily Ratajkowski, Rita Ora and Mira Duma to Veronika Heilbrunner and Eleonora Carisi to name a new.

Sleeper is available at top-tier retailers globally including Barneys, Harrods, Moda Operandi, Opening Ceremony as well as Fortnum & Mason, with a New York brick-and-mortar store on the horizon.

Kate Zubarieva & Asya VaretsaSleeper

What was your first fashionable memory?

Kate: When I was 5, we used to live in North Korea. I remember that my mom and her girlfriends decided to take their children to the Carrier Hotel restaurant for an ice-cream treat. The place was favored by foreigners, and actually, it was the only place where they mingled. (I assume nothing has changed since then.) Everything that happened there seemed to be absolutely magical to me. In the spacious modern room, there were women and men, all smoking, and so tall, with grand hair-dos, typical of 90s styles, in mini skirts, and heels. The whole picture impressed me with its aesthetics. I still feel weakness for the 90s fashion thanks to this memory.

How did you get into the industry?

Kate and Asya: We were friends and both came from the fashion industry. We used to work as fashion editors for leading magazines in Russia and Ukraine. We achieved some points in our careers so our experiences pushed us to create something new, something that belonged to us.

Sleeper Mohair Light Grey Lounge DressSleeper

What were the greatest lessons learned when it comes to fashion?

Kate and Asya: Stay true to yourself. Fashion has lost its dictator powers, and this is good news. We live in a time of multitude trends, meaning that more often than not absolutely contrasting things can be equally in style. It’s much more fun to live in the world where you can be yourself and enjoy life.

How would you sum up the Sleeper aesthetic? 

Kate and Asya: 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/cranky face. Obviously, we make dresses and pajamas for special occasions: when we rest, go to the beach or travel.

White Lounge SuitSleeper

Who is your customer?

Kate and Asya:  Our customer is definitely a personality, whose home life is filled with the same sense and joy as social life. We truly believe that being a personality is remarkable.We believe that every individual represents a whole world, a Universe, and not a Boy Scout unit, which must march in lockstep. We do not have any preconditions for our customers or for humanity as a whole. The fact that it exists is a miracle in itself.

Talk us through the production process...

Kate and Asya: Sleeper supports the artisan-manufacturing traditions and ethical consciousness. All pieces are hand-crafted by artisans from natural eco-friendly fibers only, e.g., 100 percent linen, silk, cotton. Dedicated seamstresses with some having up to 30 years of professional experience spends 8-12 hours on one item. All garments are custom-made in the sewing studios, located at the Sleeper’s workspace, which allows monitoring each seam, as well as maintaining very warm relations and share all company’s news. We do not outsource; all our pieces are made-to-order meaning there is no excessive production at all.We are constantly involved in making our garments better. We are discussing the customers and buyers feedback messages on a weekly basis with our whole team. This winter we completely re-designed our basic collection by adding intricate details and making pajamas top resemble the classic blouse even more. We have also changed the cut so that our pajamas would look attractive regardless of the body type. The price of the garment stayed the same.

 

Moonstone Blue DressSleeper

Who are the supporters of your brand (stockists and celebs etc)?

Kate and Asya: Among the fans of the brand are Leandra Medine, Emily Ratajkowski, Emily Weiss, Aurora James, Rita Ora, Veronika Heilbrunner, Eleonora Carisi and Sophia Amoruso.

Brand’s collections are now available at Barneys, Harrods, Moda Operandi, Opening Ceremony, Secret Location, Half Mad, Platform Place (Korea), Lot29, LisaSaysGah, The Tot, Sprezzatura, and many other stores all over the world.

Which is your favorite item/s from your new arrivals and why?

Kate and Asya: My favorite is the white suit made of cotton and cashmere. It is very unpretentious and really elegant. I think it is a virtuous woman’s outfit.

Bridal Pajama SetSleeper

What’s the next step for the brand?

Kate and Asya: Sleeper is planning to have an office in NYC and someday even open a brick-and-mortar store there. We also foresee Sleeper beginning off-line sales in metropolis pop-up stores as well as seasonal sales at resort locations during the summer. These are our plans for the foreseeable future. But we also have a big dream to open a huge factory with a learning center where we’ll be sharing our experiences and educate new generations of seamstresses, embroiderers, engineers, technologists to design first-class clothes. Naturally, we see Sleeper on the high streets all over the world.

Shop the collection on their e-store: www.the-sleeper.com

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Sleeper is the fashion startup that supports the idea of what they refer to as “walking sleepwear,” where daywear meets nightwear (and it's super chic). Founded in Kyiv in 2014 by 20-somethings Kate Zubarieva and Asya Varetsa, it was fully self-funded with the startup capital of just $2,000. And impressively, by 2017 the brand has grown by 150% in revenue and up 500% from 2014, proving nighties-come-day dresses are a hot commodity.

Sleeper Judas Tree Dress ModelSleeper

And does Sleeper get better? Yes, it does, as there is a focus on the people aspect of the brand. The company cares about people making its garments, ensuring fair working conditions, competitive salaries, formal employment and safe workplaces. In addition, all pieces are made-to-order meaning there is no excessive production. This has won them a legion of followers, from Leandra Medin, Emily Ratajkowski, Rita Ora and Mira Duma to Veronika Heilbrunner and Eleonora Carisi to name a new.

Sleeper is available at top-tier retailers globally including Barneys, Harrods, Moda Operandi, Opening Ceremony as well as Fortnum & Mason, with a New York brick-and-mortar store on the horizon.

Kate Zubarieva & Asya VaretsaSleeper

What was your first fashionable memory?

Kate: When I was 5, we used to live in North Korea. I remember that my mom and her girlfriends decided to take their children to the Carrier Hotel restaurant for an ice-cream treat. The place was favored by foreigners, and actually, it was the only place where they mingled. (I assume nothing has changed since then.) Everything that happened there seemed to be absolutely magical to me. In the spacious modern room, there were women and men, all smoking, and so tall, with grand hair-dos, typical of 90s styles, in mini skirts, and heels. The whole picture impressed me with its aesthetics. I still feel weakness for the 90s fashion thanks to this memory.

How did you get into the industry?

Kate and Asya: We were friends and both came from the fashion industry. We used to work as fashion editors for leading magazines in Russia and Ukraine. We achieved some points in our careers so our experiences pushed us to create something new, something that belonged to us.

Sleeper Mohair Light Grey Lounge DressSleeper

What were the greatest lessons learned when it comes to fashion?

Kate and Asya: Stay true to yourself. Fashion has lost its dictator powers, and this is good news. We live in a time of multitude trends, meaning that more often than not absolutely contrasting things can be equally in style. It’s much more fun to live in the world where you can be yourself and enjoy life.

How would you sum up the Sleeper aesthetic? 

Kate and Asya: 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/cranky face. Obviously, we make dresses and pajamas for special occasions: when we rest, go to the beach or travel.

White Lounge SuitSleeper

Who is your customer?

Kate and Asya:  Our customer is definitely a personality, whose home life is filled with the same sense and joy as social life. We truly believe that being a personality is remarkable.We believe that every individual represents a whole world, a Universe, and not a Boy Scout unit, which must march in lockstep. We do not have any preconditions for our customers or for humanity as a whole. The fact that it exists is a miracle in itself.

Talk us through the production process...

Kate and Asya: Sleeper supports the artisan-manufacturing traditions and ethical consciousness. All pieces are hand-crafted by artisans from natural eco-friendly fibers only, e.g., 100 percent linen, silk, cotton. Dedicated seamstresses with some having up to 30 years of professional experience spends 8-12 hours on one item. All garments are custom-made in the sewing studios, located at the Sleeper’s workspace, which allows monitoring each seam, as well as maintaining very warm relations and share all company’s news. We do not outsource; all our pieces are made-to-order meaning there is no excessive production at all.We are constantly involved in making our garments better. We are discussing the customers and buyers feedback messages on a weekly basis with our whole team. This winter we completely re-designed our basic collection by adding intricate details and making pajamas top resemble the classic blouse even more. We have also changed the cut so that our pajamas would look attractive regardless of the body type. The price of the garment stayed the same.

 

Moonstone Blue DressSleeper

Who are the supporters of your brand (stockists and celebs etc)?

Kate and Asya: Among the fans of the brand are Leandra Medine, Emily Ratajkowski, Emily Weiss, Aurora James, Rita Ora, Veronika Heilbrunner, Eleonora Carisi and Sophia Amoruso.

Brand’s collections are now available at Barneys, Harrods, Moda Operandi, Opening Ceremony, Secret Location, Half Mad, Platform Place (Korea), Lot29, LisaSaysGah, The Tot, Sprezzatura, and many other stores all over the world.

Which is your favorite item/s from your new arrivals and why?

Kate and Asya: My favorite is the white suit made of cotton and cashmere. It is very unpretentious and really elegant. I think it is a virtuous woman’s outfit.

Bridal Pajama SetSleeper

What’s the next step for the brand?

Kate and Asya: Sleeper is planning to have an office in NYC and someday even open a brick-and-mortar store there. We also foresee Sleeper beginning off-line sales in metropolis pop-up stores as well as seasonal sales at resort locations during the summer. These are our plans for the foreseeable future. But we also have a big dream to open a huge factory with a learning center where we’ll be sharing our experiences and educate new generations of seamstresses, embroiderers, engineers, technologists to design first-class clothes. Naturally, we see Sleeper on the high streets all over the world.

Shop the collection on their e-store: www.the-sleeper.com

Source : https://www.forbes.com/sites/felicitycarter/2018/07/10/the-stella-rise-of-fashion-startup-sleeper/

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