THE SLEEPWALKER GOWN: A LOVE STORY.
Before telling you about the Sleepwalker 2.0, we have to go back real quick - back before the satin version, the original version, before the magical little company who brought them to you even existed.
We have to start with Sunday Forever itself. The origin story of the company is fairly well covered on the internet - a quick google search will bring up several interviews with Ashli, our founder, explaining the events that led up to the launch of the business. The gist is, in her past work life, Ashli worked hard for a long time and climbed to the top of the career ladder, only to find there was no happiness up there.
After that seed was planted, she spent a few years gathering inspiration until she left her job and launched Sunday Forever. The business was founded on one principle: the fate of the company, and by extension her own life, would belong only to her and those she chose to bring into it. She believed in the business she was building and chose to jump in the pilot seat of her life.
In the past, Ashli was constantly bound by the expectations and direction of others, that's par for the course in big companies, especially big corporate companies. By starting Sunday Forever, Ashli was deciding the arbitrary rules of what can and can't be done didn't apply to her anymore. The business would (and has and does) reflect her - her feelings, her beliefs, and her desires. Since 2016, this principle has carried Sunday Forever through every triumph and every bump in the road. Each product has been developed on the foundation of total autonomy.
Starting a business fully independently with no backers or investors to answer to has created an environment where creativity can thrive. Decisions can be made without having to wait for permission or convince anyone that the idea is a good one, and the outcome of each one is handled by the small but mighty team that steers the ship. Of course, no matter how hard we try, sometimes there are circumstances that are beyond our control.
Which brings us to the Sleepwalker 2.0.
The first Sleepwalker was developed like every other Sunday Forever product - there was a need that Ashli felt wasn't being met by what was on the market, so she made it herself. The original launch of the first Sleepwalker was pushed back by a few months due to the COVID shutdown in NYC. Planned for February, those plans derailed when the company had to switch into survival mode. For months, Sunday Forever operated as a team of two (one in the office, one at home making jewelry). You can read more about that here, but ultimately, like everyone else, the company was just trying to make it through the day. When restrictions started to ease and things started to look up for Manhattan, the dream of the Sleepwalker was finally able to become a reality and the first version launched that June. They have been a staple in the Sunday Forever lineup ever since. After a few iterations, the team found themselves looking at their supply chain options when an email from the founder of Virtue + Vice showed up in Ashli's inbox.
Virtue + Vice was founded by Melanie DiSalvo after years of working in the fast fashion industry. Similar to Ashli, after seven years of working her way up and getting on the ground in factories in developing countries, Melanie decided she wanted to make a change. After getting to know the industry from the inside out, she took that knowledge and decided to implement a practical solution to the issues of pollution and mistreatment she was seeing. She created Virtue + Vice to help small businesses move to sustainable, ethical fashion supply chain options.
Melanie’s partner, Aseem Singla, founded Fashion Images Overseas, a production factory based in Jaipur, India which she often connects her clients with. FIO is fully committed to humanitarian principles to reach their goal of exporting high-quality Indian garments to every corner of the world. The company employs women in leadership positions, provides liveable wages to all factory workers, and teaches practical skills such as sourcing fabric and sewing, all while maintaining sustainable practices. They create garments in small batches (though they can produce up to 40,000 units per month) to avoid excess waste and pollution. They’re also the true definition of transparent, providing pictures of factory employees at every step of the production process.
We were excited to work with Melanie and Aseem, and after first connecting with Virtue + Vice at the beginning of 2021, our Sleepwalker 2.0 finally came together to be able to launch this May.
While we here in New York City were fortunate enough to see our city start to reopen, our friends in Jaipur were struck by a horrendous wave of COVID-19. Cases there began to rise dramatically, overwhelming their healthcare system, and for the safety of the citizens there, they entered a strict lockdown.
Our goal at Sunday Forever is to put good things into the world. The Sleepwalker has always been a perfect symbol for what we strive for - to make other people feel good - and it's especially true for this version. We were so excited to be able to partner with a manufacturing business that had humanity at its core and the strength of that humanity will live in the gowns that they hand sewed. This Sleepwalker was created with so much love, a testament to the resilience of the entire team in India who persevered through a global pandemic to make them for us. We feel so proud that these special gowns are a part of Sunday Forever and that we get to share them with our community.
Thank you so much for sticking with us. We couldn’t do it without you and we hope you love this magical garment as much as we do.