We know what happens when we don't have a reason to dress up: Sweatsuits in tie-dyed blends of polyester pile up in our closets, and bras become wire-free and occasional, but not everyday acquaintances. But what happens when the world slowly reverts back to a place where social interactions that suggest sartorial effort are a norm? Untitled in Motion, an apparel brand launched this February, has the bold but super-comfy answer.
Untitled in Motion is a collaboration between Marika Kandelaki, a print-maker, and Virginia Craddock, a business consultant and founder of Kurt Lyle, that makes wearable art in leisure-friendly form.
"We want this to transcend daywear, so we're coining this term 'Wake Wear,'" Craddock says, over the phone. "It's lounge meets ready-to-wear."
Loungewear has become life-wear during the pandemic, but Craddock and Kandelaki had been toying with this idea of making luxurious, pajama-like clothes before working from home was the norm. The creative pair first crossed paths at a trade show a few years back, and they describe their initial meeting — and their entire collaborative process — as if the universe conspired in their favor, pushing them to bond over a shared appreciation of art and imagination.
Craddock's impressive background consists of founding a series of cool companies over the last decade, including the PR agency-meets-retail concept for emerging designers International Playground in 2009. In 2015, she launched the ready-to-wear label Kurt Lyle, with an aesthetic rooted in geometric prints, textured fabrics and bright colors. Then, in 2017, she somehow found time to open Inside Out Agency, which offers sales, consulting and business development to independent female designers with a sustainability slant.
Kandelaki's resume is equally stacked, with a career that has spanned various disciplines, from fine art to ceramics to music to textile design. She started a Brooklyn-based print studio, Moonshake Studio, in 2005 that primarily serves the fashion and home industries, working with brands like Brooklinen, Eloquii, Mara Hoffman, Munthe and Prabal Gurung.
Kandelaki had a booth at the aforementioned trade show, which caught Craddock's eye. Their initial meeting led to cocktails, then to a friendship and, in the fall of 2019, to a conversation about teaming up on a collection of beautiful pajamas derived from Kandelaki's prints. At the time, their schedules didn't leave much room for this idea to take shape. Then — well, we know what happened.
"My print studio halted everything, and one of my printers was like, 'Oh, don't you want to make pajamas? I can help you produce them,'" Kandelaki says, explaining how lockdown gave her the time to focus on this new project.
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From the start, the duo was committed to bringing their brand to life using a sustainable production model and finding an eco-conscious fabric that would lend a luxurious feel to the final product. the first drop is made entirely from Tencel LUXE, a breathable and sumptuous yet machine-washable alternative to silk that comes from renewable plant resources. (Craddock notes that they're currently exploring other fabrications for future collections.)
Untitled in Motion's debut offering has five silhouettes in four different prints: a bias-cut slip dress with a round neckline; a straight-leg pant with an elasticized waist; a slightly oversized button-down with a dropped shoulder and wide sleeve; a mid-thigh-hitting short; and a wide-sleeve robe. All are priced from $195 to $320 and are available in sizes XS to XXL.
The fun not only comes in the prints — which range from a vibrant collage of citrous fruits and colorful pottery to a subtle iridescent pattern — but also in the mix-and-match sensibility of the collection, allowing the wearer to pattern-clash or to pair them with other items in their closets.
Each piece is a modern work of art, with a strong emphasis on pattern. The prints in this inaugural line are inspired by dream states, surrealist imagery, architecture and artistic references — think cutouts of Matisse and the strange dreamscapes of Kay Sage. On the color front, Kandelaki found inspiration in the natural beauty of her surroundings while quarantining on the island of Mali Losinj in Croatia.
With Untitled in Motion, Kandelaki and Craddock want to activate the subconscious and nurture our inner creativity. Through this first collection, the designers hope to inspire people to imagine, dream and think forward.
"Art and life are similar if not the same," says Craddock. "This project, as with life, is an ongoing masterpiece that is untitled and is constantly in flux."