All Light All Shadow with Kelly & Betony
words by Edana Isobel Jamora
“I thought the most beautiful thing in the world must be shadow.”
― Sylvia Plath
Kelly & Betony cover all the colourful shades of ALAS Sleepwear. One day they’re wearing the accountant hat and the next day they’re wearing the designer hat. With the many happenings of a busy day, they still take the time out to create socially and ecologically conscious sleepwear inspired by the symmetrical and simplistic. All Light All Shadow is 100% organic and pays detailed attention to shining light upon the manufacturing processes of creating their sleepwear. ALAS is derived from the idea of sleepwear having the ability to transition between day to night, light to dark and from awake to asleep.
ALAS is all about living slow and enjoying the more intimate moments in life whilst of course not forgetting to be comfy at the same time.
1/ Aside from the obvious reasons as to why sustainable wear is better, why did you make it a personal choice to pursue?
We have always tried to practice conscious living in all aspects of our life, perhaps its from growing up in the country, being connected with nature or just our natural curiosity of where and how things are made, it just makes sense. Besides the obvious of helping support stable and fair employment and minimising environmental harm, it is also incredibly beneficial to wear, eat or use organic and chemical free products and to try and simplify this complex and crazy life.
2/ How has this conscious choice affected the decision making process when thinking of aesthetic and function?
There is an excitement and challenge about producing sustainably, you can’t rest on your laurels or do anything half arsed. Each tiny part of the process has to be carefully considered from cotton to producer, packaging to promotion. This attention to detail and the boundaries we come across force you to think outside the ordinary, especially when it comes to fabric and fastenings. From an aesthetic point of view we are quite lucky to have few limitations. AZO, formaldehyde free dyes and inks can still produce vibrant colours. Our aesthetic has always been driven by our favourite artists, the symmetry in nature and the surreal in everyday life.
3/ Talk us through the process of creating designs, patterns and fabrics.
We generally begin a collection with a theme of some sort (a random amalgamation of references) from our travels, nature or our favourite artists. We like to build a rough foundation of silhouettes, as we find we cannot stray too far from a comfortable style. This helps us define a balanced collection of sets and separates, we then get to work on our prints. Our prints often start from a painting or a drawing, which is often quite abstract. Betony is often my hands. I am not very good with proportions! So I explain a concept and she will translate it onto paper. We pop it into our computers and manipulate or repeat them, tweak them or mash them up and voila! The hardest element of the design process is colours, there are so many options and not enough pieces. If we had our way some day we will have ranges filled with a myriad of colour options!
4/ What does an average day look like for Betony & Kelly in the design studio?
Although we may not realise it, science plays a huge part in ALAS and the evolution of our product. From comprehensive knitting machines to new ways of growing organic cotton effectively. There are constantly new developments towards sustainability. This allows us to think of new ways of creating things, which enables us to run our business without compromising on quality or ethics.
5/ What part does science play in the creation of ALAS?
As small business owners, an average day does not really exist. The most consistent thing is countless emails and calls the rest varies. Some days we will be the accountant chasing invoices, others dispatching and delivering or painting up a storm! It is all quite seasonal, but essentially our days are filled with lots of tea, too much computer time and some cherished moments of design and brand development. We wear many hats in this business, some days we spend the day connecting with our producers, followed by late night calls to UK stockists, you never know what a day at ALAS might hold.
6/ How would you describe the most picturesque and ideal setting if you could spend the entire day in sleepwear?
An ideal day in ALAS PJ’S would have to be in the pouring rain or with snow falling, no sirens, no cars, no city, just the patter on the roof. A late sleep in of course, pancakes and a chocolate almond smoothie followed by some serious therapy in the kitchen. Cooking big batches of food- preferably pickling or making potentially the best chilli sauce yet! Catching up on a good book, painting, scribbling, creating something and having time to reflect and slow down. There is no such thing as a wasted day, only a nourishing re-energising day!
7/ Describe ‘comfort’.
Comfort for us means a good and balanced life. The health and well being of our body and mind is the ultimate comfort. To care for yourself and those around you, offers a comfort in the purest from. We created ALAS in the hope to encourage people to take time out, cherish the down times, in a world so incredibly rushed and busy its so important to bring back those intimate moments at home, when you can relax, wear something comfortable and have peace of mind.
8/ How do you see ALAS evolving?
ALAS is constantly evolving, our name All Light All Shadow, reminds us that nothing is constant we are always undergoing change. We are endlessly trying to improve the brand and endeavour to find better ways of producing and creating positive impact. We have been working on quite a few brand extensions including hand woven loafers. We have collaborated with Tara Whalley a Melbourne based designer and some wonderful women in Guatemala. The collaboration involves the skilful work of artisan weavers, dyers and cobblers near San Juan Lakes, Tara has been working closely with us and the producers developing 4 classic slippers with intricate patterns and embroidery. We have also started to engage in illustration collaborations working with Chrissie Abbott an incredible UK artist, for our 2015 range with more to follow. As ALAS grows we want to embrace the talented people that surround us and support traditional craftsmanship, all while offering our customers a range of products that they can wear in the quieter moments of their lives.
Visit ALAS at: