Andy Spade Launches 'Not Quite Ready-to-Wear' to Sleep and Work In

Last night, new loungewear company Sleepy Jones rented out an entire boutique hotel--the Lafayette House--and hosted a 24 hour sleep-in to fete their launch. Guests were welcomed to wander through the hotel's rooms and explore. It was the coolest launch party/press preview I've ever been to--but of course, I'd expect nothing less from Andy Spade, the retail genius who helped launch Kate Spade and Jack Spade, and, at his creative branding firm Partners and Spade, has helped cool-ify companies like J.Crew, Warby Parker, Roxy and more. I caught up with Spade (who had been up all night on Glenn O'Brien's TV Party) to chat about why designers should stop doing so many things, and why pajamas may just be the 21st century's office wardrobe.
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Hayley Phelan
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Last night, new loungewear company Sleepy Jones rented out an entire boutique hotel--the Lafayette House--and hosted a 24 hour sleep-in to fete their launch. Guests were welcomed to wander through the hotel's rooms and explore. It was the coolest launch party/press preview I've ever been to--but of course, I'd expect nothing less from Andy Spade, the retail genius who helped launch Kate Spade and Jack Spade, and, at his creative branding firm Partners and Spade, has helped cool-ify companies like J.Crew, Warby Parker, Roxy and more. I caught up with Spade (who had been up all night on Glenn O'Brien's TV Party) to chat about why designers should stop doing so many things, and why pajamas may just be the 21st century's office wardrobe.
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Last night, new loungewear company Sleepy Jones rented out an entire boutique hotel--the Lafayette House--and hosted a 24 hour sleep-in to fete their launch. Guests were welcomed to wander through the hotel's rooms and explore.

There was so much to see: A robe-clad dancer doing arabesques in a hallway, a scruffy-looking dude jotting down notes in a bed, Glenn O'Brien flanked by models in yet another bed, a model, dressed only in her undies, getting hippie-esque designs painted on her. Everyone was dressed in the brand's wares--and everyone looked like they were having a blast, despite the fact that they'd have to stay up all night.

It was the coolest launch party/press preview I've ever been to--but of course, I'd expect nothing less from Andy Spade, the retail genius who helped launch Kate Spade and Jack Spade, and, at his creative branding firm Partners and Spade, has helped cool-ify companies like J.Crew, Warby Parker, Roxy and more.

I caught up with Spade (who had been up all night on Glenn O'Brien's TV Party) to chat about why designers should stop doing so many things, and why pajamas may just be the 21st century's office wardrobe.

So I hear you've been up all night? Mmhmm.

Are you planning up staying up all night tonight? Uh I hope not. I am planning on actually getting home by midnight.

This presentation is amazing. How'd you come up with it? Oh we just thought about people lounging and living in their bedrooms. We have one girl eating donuts watching exercise videos upstairs. Then we have the painting room, they're doing their thing. I just thought it was a great way to present pajamas, boxer shorts and robes. I just thought it was a natural way to kind of show it because standing at a presentation doesn't work. And this doesn't merit a big big show.

I think especially today, because there's so many things going on all the time, it's hard for smaller designers' presentations not to get lost in the mix of thing. But this definitely won't get drowned out. Thank you. It's not fashion week so we're not competing with Marc Jacobs are we?

Was that intentional--not showing during fashion week? It was international. It would get lost in the mix. And we also didn't have the clothes ready. I guess that part wasn't intentional! But even if we had the clothes ready, I would have waited till the end of the calendar. Or done it before so people were around. I get more people in I think [when I don't show during fashion week] because I'm not going to be able to sit on a calendar next to big designers.

How long have you been working on the line? About seven months.

That's fast! Why did you decide to launch a loungewear line, specifically, now? I just thought that right now, well, this has been going on for a while, I've been reading about it: people actually wearing their pajamas out. I was inspired by old pictures of David Hockney and Picasso, living that way, and I thought 'Why can't other people live that way?' I think you could actually walk around in a really nice tailored pajama shirt. I just kind of thought the idea of sleeping--I usually sleep in my old men's shirt, that's kind of my wardrobe. And then I wear it the next day. So I kind of walk around in the same thing, it's a 24 hour outfit. So I thought this could be an area that could be developed. No one in America is really just focused on this, other than people like Victoria's Secret, or you know like Agent Provacteur. Then you have Hanes and Calvin Klein which is all different, that's all about like the body, and Sleepy Jones is more for my friends who aren't that customer.

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Do you hope to see more people walking around in their pjs? Well I said that before, when I used to wear my pants short with brogues, no I wouldn't. But I guess now, in my case, yeah, I do. I hope people can. Just because people work at home a lot. A lot of my friends work out of their houses. And so Sleepy Jones is comfortable, but then you can also walk out and get the paper. I see it basically as: it's a shirt you can wear out or to bed, so it goes both ways. The goal is to get these things out of the house.

Yeah definitely, I'd wear most of the collection out. Yeah I think if the pieces are tailored right you can. We're gonna crop the pants a little bit, taper more. We're putting pockets in. The pocket came back, we didn't like the pocket so that's being added. But that's the goal, that's why I call it 'not quite ready to wear.' It's actually ready wear but I didn't want to overstate it.

Do you think you'll expand at all? I think I want to focus on these kind of fun really soft, comfortable things that you sort of live in. Nothing structured. I mean we're doing socks and we're going to probably do some shorts but mostly this category. I just think this is one category I just want to stick to. You know I have ADD. I could go into 18 things. But then it's like a hodge poge of everything. I think a lot of designers get caught up in thinking they do everything and then you don't have a point of view. I just want to have a real strong point of view and try to really build this category out, add more a lot of prints, a lot of customs prints. We're doing one with Wes Lang right now. There'll be a lot of prints that no one else has, and that's where the line will go, it'll be more about prints and only a few silhouettes.

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Do you think more designers could stand to focus their vision instead of doing too many things? I really appreciate labels that focus. When we did Kate, it was all accessories we never really did ready-to-wear. It was bags first, then we did stationary, then shoes. We loved those little things. There's so many ready to wear people out there I don't know what I would do. Because I could buy something from J.Crew or Thom Browne, Band of Outsiders. All the people I like, they do everything that I would do. So I just want to own this. You can wear Sleepy Jones with J. Crew or Band of Outsiders or anything you want. But if I can just get this category done in a really smart way and designed great--that's all I want to do. I do think a lot of designers really get confused because everyone gives you an opinion, says 'Oh you should do shoes, oh you should do belts, oh you should do a suit.' You're suddenly like where does it go in the store? You can't put it all together. So you have like six belts on a rack in Bloomingdales.

That's what I've learned from my experiences. We launched Warby Parker, and are working with Filson, and they both have very focused offerings. It's kind of simple. I mean honestly, it's really simple. So just focus on print, and focus on making the right fit, but you don't have to try to do 18 things. I get confused when I start thinking about all the different things you could do. I mean I would love to do ready to wear but I just think there's so many people doing it.

So you've already collaborated with Wes Lang. Are there more collaborations coming up? Any names you could tell us? I can't tell you names yet because it's not confirmed. But we are doing more artist collaborations. We'll be doing it with artists, we'll be doing it with candy makers. We have a candy maker. We'll be doing it with all kinds of people. We might do it with a bicycle company actually. One pant leg up here [to ride in].

We can't wait.

Click through to see more photos from last night's 'Sleep In' and visit Sleepy Jones' site to shop the collection