Pre-COVID, we may not have given much thought to what we wear at home. As we spend more time nesting indoors, loungewear has emerged as the unsung sartorial hero of the pandemic, dominating both our wardrobes and Google searches. But the environmental impacts of loungewear have gone unnoticed—with pajama purchases surging as we speak, so have our contribution to textile waste.
To address this very problem, local bedding brand, Sunday Bedding, has teamed up with sustainable fashion label, Esse, to roll out ‘Repose‘, a collection of minimal loungewear. Both known for their commitment to environmental sustainability, the collaboration comes as a natural pairing. The two homegrown brands have found a way to turn bedding offcuts from Sunday Bedding’s sheets into camisoles, tanks and rompers rendered in Esse’s signature relaxed silhouettes and colourways.
Catching up with Clara Teo, founder of Sunday Bedding, Vogue Singapore hears more about the burgeoning rise of sustainable loungewear, what post-pandemic fashion might look like, and her top self-care tips for a good night’s rest.
This loungewear capsule collection with Esse is Sunday Bedding’s first fashion collaboration. What inspired this collaboration and why did you choose to team up with Esse?
The heart of our work at Sunday Bedding lies in trying to help our customers make space for rest. While bedding will always be an important part of the rest journey, we wanted to bring moments of rest to our customers throughout the day especially with the lines of work and rest blurring. Loungewear became a very natural extension of this vision. I’ve always been a big personal fan of Esse and appreciate how their designs are minimal and relaxed yet elegant. Both of our brands also have very similar approaches to textile sustainability, and Alex and I have always wanted to create something with our bed linen offcuts. Across the textiles industry, up to a whopping 15 percent of textile waste is often lost as offcuts during production, even before the end product reaches customers.
Can you tell us a little more about how different fabrics weigh up on the sustainability scale, from cotton to polyester?
Bamboo, linen and organic cotton are three textile types that rank quite high on the sustainability scale. The least sustainable fabrics are polyester, nylon and acrylic, which are not only synthetic but are also not biodegradable, often releasing harmful microplastics during wash cycles. These fabrics are plastics-based, which means they are highly reliant on petrochemicals during their production process. It is also important to note that 89 percent of textiles production is polyester or cotton or a mixture of both, which means that there is a huge imbalance in the environmental footprint. To put it into perspective, producing plastic-based fibres such as polyester uses 342 million barrels of oil every year!
What are some things people should take note of when looking for comfortable, breathable and sustainable loungewear?
• Sleep environment: If you sleep without air-conditioning or tend to run warm when you sleep at night, both bamboo and cotton are great for warm nights. Bamboo wicks away moisture and has a cooler feel, whereas cotton is highly breathable.
• Skin type: If you have sensitive skin, look for loungewear made from 100% linen due to all its natural qualities.
• Sustainable options: If you’re trying to commit to a more environmentally friendly lifestyle, opt for alternative fabrics such as bamboo fabric as growing bamboo consumes less water than cotton.
How does what we wear to bed affect the way we sleep?
What we wear can have a huge impact on how we feel at home and even affect the way we sleep and investing in well-made pieces is an important step to kick-start an essential self-care routine. Like how your sheets are clothes for your bed, the same goes for what you wear when you’re at rest. Given that a significant part of our lives are spent sleeping, investing in breathable, comfortable loungewear helps our bodies rest and detoxify properly while we are asleep. This goes back to our vision to create a personal sanctuary for all customers in their bedroom, while advocating the importance of quality rest beyond bedtime. Two years from launch and our mission remains the same—we want to help consumers make quality rest a priority, especially amidst the current climate where work and home life become increasingly blurred due to COVID-19.
“We’re just getting started on scratching the surface in moving towards a sustainable textile economy, especially within fashion.”
Both Esse and Sunday Bedding are driven by a similar ethos of sustainability. When it comes to bedding, what is the environmental impact that most people might not be aware of?
One important and surprising finding from our study was that the consumer use phase is actually the largest contributor of carbon footprint for textiles (up to 90 percent). This means that regardless of what material you use, choosing to line dry instead of using a dryer will reduce the carbon footprint by more than half. Choosing to purchase even the most sustainable fabric does not really help if we intend to discard them quickly. We’re big advocates of buying less, but buying well. Investing in quality, well-made sheets that hold up to frequent washing can go a long way in reducing your environmental impact. When caring for your sheets during your weekly/biweekly wash cycle, it’s also important to be mindful of the amount of water used when washing your sheets. People tend to change their bedding sets every year or so, and this can generate a lot of waste, especially when the sheets they choose may not be eco-friendly to begin with. Sunday Bedding’s French Linen sheets get softer with each wash and can last up to 10 years, whereas bamboo or cotton sheets can last between 2-3 years before some piling starts to set in.
The demand for loungewear has increased due to the pandemic, but we may not be aware of the sustainability of these purchases. How do you think this demand for both sustainable clothing and loungewear might shape the way we dress, rest and lounge moving forward?
While there has been a surge in eco-conscious shopping even before the pandemic, we’re just getting started on scratching the surface in moving towards a sustainable textile economy, especially within fashion. Beyond labels such as ‘organic’, sustainability is also about the durability of the product and how consumers can remain committed to do their part for the environment, such as caring for their clothes the right way and being mindful about how much they purchase. The post-pandemic period that we’re currently going through can be defined by restraints, and we think that this facilitates a trend towards more mindful consumption. We are hopeful that this will shift demand towards more thoughtfully made pieces and an interest in the stories behind the pieces that you buy. This means more designer stories, behind-the-scenes previews and most importantly, more transparency behind how our products are being made. We also expect designs and colours to be more pared down, with an emphasis on the tactile experience. We’ll see more materials that are soft, breathable and fluid (e.g. Bamboo Sateen, TENCEL, Modal/Viscose blends) not just on loungewear, but fashion in general. Colour palette should continue to stay neutral with warm shades. New categories like bath-leisure may also emerge as people get used to spending even more time at home.
“Take some time to reflect and understand what matters to you. We only have a limited amount of mental energy each day.”
Finally, what are your top tips for a restful sleep?
The key to getting restful sleep is to create your own wind-down routine. Some tips to kickstart your own winddown routine is to make sure moments of respite—what we like to call that ‘Sunday feeling’—is weaved in throughout the day. To optimise your rest time, you should focus on how you rest, how long you rest, and the tools required to rest well. Take some time to reflect and understand what matters to you. We only have a limited amount of mental energy each day. Resting doesn’t mean shutting off your brain, but it could mean taking some time to be mindful and doing things with intention as opposed to just going through the motions. With our ever-busy schedules, this is only possible if we start prioritising and being disciplined about saying no to things that do not matter to us. When you’ve done that you bring a sense of calm to mind, as you begin to get ready for your evening in bed.