Since sleepwear and loungewear have become a popular work-from-home wardrobe choice, Papinelle Sleepwear is a perfect pick for this week’s Sustainable Spotlight. Not only are many of us spending more time in sleepwear and loungewear during the day, but it’s also an important decision for a restful night’s sleep. Papinelle Sleepwear is a sustainable Australian brand launched in 2003, featuring a glamorous and comfortable collection sourced from beautiful, sustainable fabrics. We caught up with Papinelle founder & CEO, Renae James to learn more about the dreamy sustainable brand.
Papinelle Sleepwear founder & CEO, Renae James
Can you share a little about your background and how you got into the industry?
I always had a strong desire to be in the fashion industry and started my journey studying Fashion Design at the University of Technology, Sydney. I started Papinelle at the age of 24—like many Australian designers, including Zimmermann and Sass and Bide, I launched the brand at the Paddington Markets in Sydney and it just grew from there.
What inspired you to launch your latest addition to your line, the organic knits collection?
Sustainability is a core element for us—our aim is to source beautiful, sustainable fabrics that are the premium quality our customers expect. We think about our impact on the environment in every decision we make and we realize while we are far from perfect, we really care!
This collection was a no-brainer; we have been making pure cotton loungewear for several years and moving to organic cotton just made sense. Organic cotton ensures that no pesticides or chemical fertilisers are used, which minuses the impact on the environment.
Tell us more about your line. What is the most popular item from your collection and do you have a favorite style?
Our aim is always to make natural, beautiful sleepwear and loungewear. Our best-selling fabrics are our pure silk collections and silk-cotton blends, which is re-edited in different prints and colors each season; as well as our Softest PJs ever, made from a beautiful modal fabric. Modal is a high-quality botanic fibre and it’s the comfiest thing you’ll ever wear. The process to make it has a low-environmental impact, and the fibres created can be completely biodegradable and compostable. My favorite style changes from season to season as I love print. At this moment, our Jardin Navy print in PJ, nightie and robe styles is my favorite as it has a beautiful navy French-inspired print on a pure cotton fabric.
What steps does your brand take towards being sustainably conscious?
As a company we are committed to ensuring we operate in an environmentally responsible way. We are far from perfect, but we believe that every small bit helps, and we are actively taking steps to increase sustainability and reduce our footprint both behind the scenes in sourcing and manufacturing, as well as what our customers take home.
Every decision we make, we consider the impact on the environment. Some of our initiatives include reducing our plastic consumption by up to 70% by not individually bagging our garments coming from our factory. Where possible, we try to source fabrics that are natural, recycled, and/ or biodegradable. We also source organic cotton and pure silk along with using recycled polyester made from PET bottles. We aim to engage in low-waste practices with careful management of materials. Much of our surplus fabrics and trims are utilized into new designs, such as our knickers and eye masks.
Can you tell us about what ethical fashion means for your brand?
Ethical fashion to me means being transparent and thoughtful about every decision you make. This includes internally with staff and office decisions and externally with our factories and manufacturing. We make sure our factories are all independently audited to ensure they stand by the ethical standards that we set with regards to working conditions, fair trade, and sustainable production.
Papinelle has worked continuously and closely with our main supplier in China for over 15 years. Long-lasting supplier relationships are as important to the company as the sourcing of sustainably produced natural fabrics for our sleepwear designs. We have personally visited and inspected our main factory, and they have also been inspected independently by BSCI (an independent auditor initiated by the Foreign Trade Association).
Does your brand support any charities?
For the past two years Papinelle has supported Carbon Neutral Charitable Fund's tree planting program that helps restore degraded land in our native Australian environment. Papinelle has also recently started working with Thread Together who deliver new, good-quality clothing and shoes to people in our community who are doing it tough. By donating sleepwear we are able to help Thread Together in their aim to restore dignity and hope for people who are going through a difficult time by providing the opportunity to choose a complete wardrobe of new clothes.
Where are your products sold?
We sell our sleepwear and accessories on our website,www.papinelle.com, through our five beautiful boutiques in Australia and New Zealand and we can also be found in stores across Australia and New Zealand (David Jones) and USA (Nordstrom, Dillards) as well as online on nordstrom.com, dillards.com, bloomingdales.com and davidjones.com.
I’m a huge fan of loungewear and dressing comfortably, and absolutely love and embrace the trend of wearing sneakers with everything! If you peered into my closet, you would see my collection of sneakers—I’m a big believer in practicality, and the reality is that sneakers go with just about everything and allow you to take on whatever adventure you will have that day. They just enhance whatever you are wearing, let it be a sundress, pair of jeans or midi skirt!
Are there any other sustainable brands or founders that have inspired you?
Stella McCartney! She has long been associated with advocating and taking real action towards sustainable and ethical fashion, and is an absolute pioneer in the fashion industry for this.
For me, my wellness bucket is full when I balance a clean, healthy diet with family time, work, and relaxation. I love a massage or a facial, so I try and take time out for these, too.
Favorite ways to relax?
I always make sure to take the time to read before going to bed—it’s my way of switching off and being completely focused on one thing. I am quite partial to getting a massage as well. There are some beautiful clean beauty brands here in Australia with salons and it’s a treat I like to take the time for when I can.
I think it's important to understand that it's a journey and no one is perfect, but it's essential to care. It's also ok to take baby steps—pick one thing you would like to change or one charity you would like to align yourself with and start there.
Written by Lizzy Sherman for Spa & Beauty Today