An interview with Treea Cracknell, owner of Sleep With Modesty, a line of nightclothes that is both sexy and comfortable. The entire line can be seen and purchased at SleepWithModesty.
Tell us about yourself. What is your background? Do you have any formal training? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
I was born in Mexico City to bohemian parents, spending my early years being driven across Central America in a yellow VW Beetle. At Art College I studied photography. After finishing my degree I was quickly drawn to the burgeoning world of the web.
Back then everything was so new it all felt really exciting. I worked in new media for over ten years, but by my early 30′s I wanted a new challenge and decided to retrain. I chose to study lingerie design and pattern cutting. My mum taught me to sew when I was young and I’ve always designed and made clothes, so when I decided to start my own business, designing clothes seemed like a natural step.
I started designing nighties in part because I couldn’t find anything that met all my needs. I wanted a nightie that felt luxurious, was flattering and made me feel sexy and beautiful, but didn’t leave me feeling over-exposed. Most nighties are either dull or frumpy, super chic and a little too grown-up for my tastes, or super sexy with very little in between.
How did you choose the name, Sleep With Modesty? Your designs are not particularly modest!
The name Sleep With Modesty is kind of a pun, as it as it refers in part to me. Reflecting my parents’ hippie side, they named me Modesty Tree. I’ve never used my first name and added an ‘a’ onto the end of Tree before going to school. My husband suggested using modesty as a name for my business, but it’s definitely an adverb rather than a noun. In terms of my nighties being modest, I think they are sexy and glamorous, but still exude an air of mystery.
Where do you get your inspiration? Specifically, what inspired the backless nightie?
An antique dealer friend was always giving me amazing handmade negligees from the 20s and 30s, which really inspired me to start designing my own modern take on nighties that were equally beautiful to wear.
My inspiration for the backless nightie was a 1930’s evening dress I bought. I really loved the cowl neck and low back and thought it would be lovely to wear something so beautiful all the time.
How involved are you in the design and construction of each piece?
I design every piece myself and draft and cut the final patterns. I’m also involved in making up some of the nighties, but I do have a great team of seamstresses that I work with who make most of the garments.
Who likes your gowns more – women or their mates?
I honestly think my nighties appeal to both men and women. From the feedback I’ve gotten to date, women love my nighties because they are so wearable, making them feel both sexy and comfortable. The men I know who have bought my nighties really like the fact that their mates actually wear their gifts frequently, rather than just on special occasions.
What is coming up for you?
I’m working on new designs and I’d like to add dressing gowns and cashmere bed jackets to my range.