Sleeper is the dress brand that exploded on Instagram this summer, and this is why you’re going to want in on the action, too.
You may not have heard of Sleeper, but you have almost certainly seen it. It’s the under-the-radar dress brand that has shot into social media super stardom over the summer with its easy to spot (and even easier to wear) linen dresses.
Midi dresses with shirred bustiers and exaggerated puff sleeves along with button down off the shoulder dresses have become the brand’s bread and butter. Of the moment, but also incredibly timeless, each piece offers a chic solution to the summer heat - and has achieved ‘icon’ status on Instagram as a result.
But how do you even become an Instagram sensation? How do you go from a tiny brand to being one of the most talked about dress brands among industry insiders and beyond in the space of the summer? We caught up with the designers and former fashion editors, Katerina Zubareva and Asya Varets, to tell us the how they’ve managed to achieve cult status in such a short amount of time.
How did Sleeper come about?
Kate: We both came from the fashion industry and used to work as fashion editors for leading magazines in Russia and Ukraine. Our experiences pushed us to create something new, something that belonged to us.
Asya: The idea itself occurred during Kate’s deep Christmas nap after watching Curly Sue where she dreamt that she was standing in the middle of a pyjamas factory. She shared her dream with me, and six months later Sleeper launched its first collection. In two more months, Franca Sozzani, then editor-in-chief of Vogue Italy, named Sleeper the brand of the month. Ever since then, Christmas is Sleeper’s favourite time of the year!
Why do you think Sleeper has found success now?
Asya: The idea of being comfortable both on the beach and at dinner with friends - just having packed three dresses- is very appealing. It certainly inspires and makes life easier. Also, I think it’s about mobility and simplicity.
Kate: Alongside the rise of trend of sleepwear as everyday wear, part of our success is a personality that we put into all our garments. When creating Sleeper we didn’t try to please anybody, we just did everything as if it were intended for ourselves. We have always had very strict working standards in everything including creating, shootings, relationships within our team – you should do everything like there’s no tomorrow. People feel this energy and sincerity momentarily, and that’s why we get so much support. You can’t fool people; you should always do your best.
What has been the impact of social media on the brand?
Kate: When we launched Sleeper in 2014, we had no experience in designing clothes, just 2,000 in savings and a dream. We didn’t have any budget to do a paid advertisement, but we really wanted to tell our story and make our voices heard. Instagram offered the perfect way to express ourselves. But the most important advantage of Instagram is that we can receive immediate feedback from our audience. We can see the photos of our clients in our garments, we can read the comments, so we can see the final result of our work.
Did you consider Instagram and social media when designing the collection?
Asya: When Katya and I began working on SS19 collection, we set out to solve a mathematical equation that puzzles women of the whole world every summer. We wanted to create something suitable and multi-functional, comfortable and appropriate to wear on the beach and at a party with friends, on a picnic and even during an escapade to the market. The task also entailed creating dresses that will look cool in photos after 20 years and do not require special care; in a nutshell, dresses that make life easier without sacrificing their appeal.
What’s next for Sleeper?
Asya: We want to open a brick and mortar store in New York someday. We also foresee Sleeper beginning offline sales in metropolis pop-up stores.
Kate: Also, our big goal is creating our own production with the best in the world working conditions for our employees. We’d like to offer our workers an educational centre and master classes, which would be the marker of quality in the world. Eventually, we’d like to build something architecturally spectacular in place of some Soviet-era factory.
Shop our edit of our five favourite Sleeper pieces here.
Sleeper: Atlanta Linen Dress
Sleeper’s Atlanta dress is the dress that inspired a thousand (maybe more) Instagram posts. Worn either on or off the shoulder, it’s guaranteed to be a summer smash hit for years to come.
Checked linen dress, £255, Sleeper
Sleeper: Linen Bag
Launching today from the resort collection, the brand are now launching into bags and we can’t think of anything chicer for beach days ahead.
Linen bag, £140, Sleeper
Sleeper: Brigitte Linen Maxi Dress
Taking on the ever-popular milk-maid shape, the Brigitte dress is a one-stop winner. Wear with barely-there sandals for occasions and even unbuttoned with jeans and slides for a more relaxed take.
Pink linen dress, £231, Sleeper
Sleeper: Black Pyjama Set
The closest we will get to wearing our actual pyjamas out. With feathered bottoms and a slouchy fit, try this with satin mules and a beaded bag for a new take on formal dressing.
Black pyjama set, £150, Sleeper
Sleeper: Navy Linen Dress
A favourite among fashion editors alike, because who doesn’t love a dress can just throw on and go?
Navy linen dress, £199, Sleeper
Images: Courtesy of Sleeper / Instagram