“Investing in high-quality sleepwear is investing in yourself,” says Ashley Westall as she chats to Nicole Wood about her luxury fashion brand, Breathe Lifestyle…
Comfort or style… can we have it all? It seems there are two types of people in the world. There are those who choose fashion and have the ability to wear a pair of jeans and heeled boots morning till night, and then there’s those who prefer to change into their comfies as soon as they step in the front door. Me? I’m the latter.
However, nestled at the intersection of comfort, style, and wellbeing lies Breathe Lifestyle – a visionary brand based in the North East which appears to offer it all.
The dynamic duo behind the business, Ashley Westall and James Rose have worked in fashion and textiles for a little over two decades. As culture vultures and trend watchers they couldn’t help but recognise the changing world.
People were spending more time and money on their homes and valued home life more than ever. Seeing the need for pyjamas and robes to wear at home but not just for bed, something to wear once you’ve stepped out of your daywear, gave birth to Breathe Lifestyle.
“It all started with an organic cotton face mask,” reminisces Ashley, the co founder behind Breathe Lifestyle.
“Going back to lockdown, it was very early days during the pandemic, probably around April time, and I suppose it just came down to the fact that I’m not the kind of person who can sit around and not do anything.
“I’ve worked in the fashion industry my whole career with various sports, jewellery and fashion brands, but it got to a point in lockdown where, like many, I was no longer able to do my day job. Then after making an observation and having a conversation with James, the idea of an organic cotton face mask was born.
The Start of Breathe Lifestyle
“The whole idea was that if this was going to become a thing and people were going to need to wear a face mask, then there was a whole host of people who would be quite discerning about how that should look as well as how it should function.
“So, cutting a very long story short, we created a really nice looking non offensive face mask that was also functional and that’s where our journey began.”
As the mask venture evolved into a thriving success, Ashley and James steered Breathe Lifestyle towards a newfound horizon – the world of sleepwear.
Recognising the increasing demand and armed with an unwavering commitment to premium quality, the brand took its maiden steps into the realm of sleep-enhancing attire.
“James’ background is multifaceted, but he has lots of skills that I don’t have. So, he’s got lots of IT skills, he’s got graphic design skills, and he has manufacturing expertise.
Whereas I have commercial experience and know how to build a brand, I know what the market demand is, and I know how to sell a product. So, we were quite a good little team, James and I, because our skills complement each other.
“Upon establishing our brand identity, we started to think about what was next. As we delved into strategic planning, the natural next thing for us was sleepwear. The future became sleepwear, it was a growing market, and the information that we looked at suggested it was going to continue to grow,” she explains.
A New Era
The inception of Breathe Lifestyle heralded a new era. A profound understanding emerged – an appreciation as well as a desire for the essence of luxury living.
“Our ethos revolves around weaving the opulence of a five-star retreat into daily life,” Ashley shares.
“It’s about that seamless transition from the attire of the day to the gentle embrace of our loungewear.”
Central to Breathe Lifestyle’s collection are the luxurious pyjamas and robes. Timeless in design, generous in sizing, and adorned in a palette of serene neutrality, these offerings combine comfort and luxury seamlessly with everyday life.
The Blue Herringbone Pyjama, with its effortlessly chic design, swiftly emerged as the crown jewel – a testament to the brand’s understanding of contemporary tastes.
“Effectively, we started with a pyjama set and we responded to demand, which has allowed us to grow and expand our brand into what it is today which has been a really exciting journey for us,” says Ashley.
Quality isn’t just a buzzword for Breathe Lifestyle; it’s an ideology embedded in every stitch, every fabric, and every design. As the brand continues to flourish, its vision extends with its bespoke offerings – monogrammed pyjamas.
Uniquely tailored to the wearer’s desires, making them the perfect personalised gift, as well as expanding its footprint into the bridal market. The brand’s embroidery service transforms special occasions such as weddings, hen parties, and honeymoons into cherished, tailor-made experiences; something Ashley tells me is an honour to be a part of when customers send in their photos.
Redefining Luxury with Breathe Lifestyle
Organic and high-quality fabrics lie at the core of the brand’s commitment to delivering a product that redefines luxury.
“We ventured into crafting our fabric out of necessity,” Ashley says.
“Seeking premium organic cotton of unparalleled quality at an accessible price point led us to an undiscovered niche. Everything we looked at was either right at the bottom end of the market, not great quality or extremely expensive.
“So, from a market research point of view, it felt like there was a gap in the market for us. There was only one well known brand playing in this arena and we knew what we had to do to match that.
“And now, we have a premium organic cotton quality that we want and as such, that is a unique selling point for us, nobody really does what we do,” she explains.
Ensuring transparency, every thread woven is traceable to its origin – a conscious choice against a backdrop of ethical concerns.
“We stand firm on ethical practices,” Ashley states.
“To create our own fabric, we contacted various mills initially to try and buy fabric from them. But then every sample that they sent us was just not quite right for various different reasons.
“So, we then ended up going down the route ‘well, if you can’t source what you want on the open market, then make it yourself’. We worked with a mill who can trace the organic cotton to the farm in Turkey.
“So, it’s a fully traceable product which is extremely important to us and it’s dyed to our specifications so, what we have is ours, it’s unique, nobody else can have exactly the same.”
“Organic cotton can be quite a debatable subject, so for us, it was really important that we knew exactly where it came from. But also, there are so many exceptional qualities that make it a great fabric for us to work with.
“When it comes to sustainability, we’re confident that we use such high quality materials that our products are long-lasting. One of our selling points is that the cost per wear is so minimal because it can go in and out of the washing machine and look pretty much as good as the day you bought it.
“So, you know, for us, not continually buying something and then ending up in landfill was a really important factor in terms of ethics and sustainability,” explains Ashley.
“Inspiration comes from James and I doing our research and having endless conversations. It’s good for us to discuss where we fit in the market and we feel that we want a tasteful, fairly neutral colour palette and that’s what our customers have really responded to,” says Ashely as we discuss keeping up with the latest trends and where new ideas are generated for the blossoming brand.
“As well as putting our own ideas into the mix, we’re fortunate to be stocked in a variety of high-end retailers. Fenwick, for example, we’re in all nine branches and we often sit down with our wholesalers and they give us feedback.
“For example, our robe is something that was brought to life based on a conversation with the team at Fenwick so, it’s good to have that input from the retailers that you work with. They know what their customers are looking for that perhaps they’re struggling to find and we can help with that,” she adds.
More Than Just a Brand
Working toward a goal of improved wellbeing, Breathe Lifestyle is more than just a fashion brand, it’s a lifestyle.
Intending to lean more into their wellbeing messaging, their new Sunday newsletter for subscribers serves as a treasure trove of sleep and relaxation insights that mirror the brand’s dedication to providing high-quality products that help relax the body and mind.
“Investing in high-quality sleepwear is investing in yourself. That’s one of the reasons why we really wanted it to be cotton because it’s comfortable to sleep in and it’s not going to make you sweat.
To get a good night’s sleep, what you wear in bed definitely plays an important role,” she says.
“I think we really need to respect the fact that we need to rest and that’s not something to be ashamed of. What we want to do with our newsletter is to share information about how to have better sleep and why sleep is so important, as well as the importance of pressing pause and maintaining a healthy balance in our lives.
“I have quite a lot of women who will say ‘I can’t wear pyjamas, I just get too hot’, but for me, our pyjamas are something you put on when you come in and take the day off to be comfortable in your own home, but also look nice,” Ashley smiles.
“Maintaining balance is crucial and I feel like our brand can step in and help with that. You can keep pushing, but burning out affects not just you but also those around you – your family, your work.
“Listening to your body, and valuing rest is vital; neglecting it impacts your health and the people in your life. Society is slowly acknowledging this need for rest. Making time for yourself, be it resting at home, hitting the gym, or ensuring quality sleep – personal wellbeing is key and definitely, something I factor into my own life.
“Covid taught us that prioritising self-care doesn’t halt the world; instead, it keeps it moving,” Ashley reflects.
Amidst the accolades and successes, Ashley remains grounded, attributing the brand’s trajectory to persistent dedication.
“I’ve been lucky enough to build up a really good network of contacts throughout my career and I feel very lucky that I am able to call upon people I’ve worked with.
“I know for people who are just starting out, that can be a real challenge. I was laughing with my family actually just saying, you know, let’s not be calling this an overnight success. I’ve spent 25 years building these relationships,” she laughs.
“A special thanks goes to a number of lovely high profile women who have helped put Breathe on the map. To name a few Davina McCall, Lisa Snowdon, Kat Farmer, and Nicola Elliott founder of Neom Organics have all been a huge help in building brand awareness.
“We have also been supported by influencers such as @comedowntothewoods @kerrylockwood and @laurenmcdermot and as a result we have grown a loyal following on Instagram,” she adds.
Breathe Lifestyle – The Best of Both Worlds
As Breathe Lifestyle crafts its stylish and high-quality garments for comfort and mindful living, it stands as a unique brand in the market where luxury effortlessly blends with everyday life.
It’s a heritage shaped by craftsmanship, ethics, and the pursuit of prioritising one’s own wellbeing. Forget choosing between style or comfort, thanks to this Breathe Lifestyle, you really can have it all.