When designer Charlotte Dunn heads to the airport these days, she wears her pyjamas, preferably black under a big black jumper. “It’s good to feel dressed; it’s a weekend and weekday view of pyjamas,” she says.
Co-founder of the eponymous luxury pyjamas brand – the range is made from bamboo and organic cotton, occasionally linen – her focus was to create something beautiful, comfortable but also made as transparently sourced as possible. “I had always cared about supply chains and could never find a pair of pyjamas that had full transparency and I couldn’t sleep peacefully not knowing where and how mine were made; though I know that sounds as if I am holier than thou, which I am not.”
Founded along with her mother in 2019, it was also developed in response to her own issues around sleep “so I wanted to enhance my own life”, she says. “I started wearing pyjamas when I started taking more care of myself and winding down after a day’s work; and then going to bed is an important ritual especially when working from home. Particularly for those who have to work in a bedroom and have to manage the disconnect of having a place to sleep and a place to work. For me pyjamas are an act of self-care and if you have nice ones, you can pop out to the shop in them as well.”
The pandemic accelerated the loungewear trend – figures from the US show that pyjama sales went up 143 per cent in April 2020 compared to the previous March. What is termed “intimates wear” fueled sales in quarantine replacing office wear, party wear and streetwear and highlighted the restorative power of tactile fabrics. That in turn was reflected in the international catwalks where wide-leg trousers and more relaxed dressing was obvious in many collections.
Dunn started with shirts and shorts for summer “and we went through so many iterations when designing the first pair, making around nine adjustments”, she recalls. The length of shirts, their stretch across the back, the waistband, raising and lowering seams, how far the v-neck should go “and oh my god, the buttons” were all details that had to be carefully considered.
“Pyjamas have to be comfortable at the end of the day – and they are not seasonal; they work all year round and don’t go out of style.”
She is proud that her materials are GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified for sustainability and organic and are sourced from the Organic Textile Company in Wales, her linen comes from a green energy company in Belgium and everything is made in west London “so I can keep as close as I can and see things for myself”.
Many of the designs are inspired by her beloved Biarritz which she has been visiting since she was four years-old. The graphics for one of the sets was a collaboration with an artist in the seaside city while other motifs include a cowboy print, a character motif and a giant cactus, “something cheeky – they all come from random parts of my life”.
Photography: Barry McCall
Hair: Jenny at Kazumi
Cool Irish pyjama brands
Zzzana.com, luxurious sleepwear, sizes 8-22
Moon & Mellow, moonandmellow.com
Loom Irish Linen, loomirishlinen.com
Susan Hunter, susanhunter.ie
Sioda So, siodaso.com
Desmond & Dempsey, desmondanddempsey.com
Stable.ie, stylish linens