Post-graduate pajama party with Durham designer Capri Rose | Fashion | Indy Week

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Post-graduate pajama party with Durham designer Capri Rose

Dressing up to lie down

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Fashion babes: Designer Capri Rose (in foreground) holding her son Oliver, and writer Amelia V.B. Shull holding her daughter Olive, in front of Patrick Dougherty's tree branch installation, "Side Steppin'" (2005), outside the Nasher Museum of Art in Durham. - PHOTO BY DEREK ANDERSON
  • Photo by Derek Anderson
  • Fashion babes: Designer Capri Rose (in foreground) holding her son Oliver, and writer Amelia V.B. Shull holding her daughter Olive, in front of Patrick Dougherty's tree branch installation, "Side Steppin'" (2005), outside the Nasher Museum of Art in Durham.

In late 2005, Durham resident and graduate student Capri Rose launched a home-based business that would fund her research and allow her to continue to stay in her pajamas until mid-afternoon. Thus, Capri Rose Sleepwear was born.

Rose's motto is "sleep well, sleep modern," and as a Ph.D. candidate in art history, her love of mid-century modernism influences not only her studies, but also her attire as she writes. Long days of dissertation research don't necessarily require business suits or even showers, but they do command a lot of coffee, a lot of time and a lot of sleep.

These mod "boyfriend style" pajamas are crafted with vintage-inspired prints, soft cotton fabrics and fine detail, and are the perfect clothing to put on after a day at work, or in Rose's case, to lounge in all day long. Dividing her time between her writing, her new business and her 6-month-old baby boy, I'm assuming she herself doesn't have much time to "lounge."

As an art teacher and new mother myself, I was incredibly excited when I had the opportunity to try out Rose's pajamas and spend some time in her company. We went on a baby-walk together and she discussed the origins of her design venture.

"In 2004, I handmade 10 pairs of pajamas for Christmas presents. They seemed to be such a perfect gift, and I started getting asked to make them on commission. I decided I would start making them professionally," Rose says.

I love my retro print pair, in tangerine and pink blossoms in 100 percent combed cotton, called the Dolce Vita. With bamboo buttons, deep pockets and ivory piping, it's a good thing that they get better with each washing, as I wear the pjs while holding a baby most of the day. They are incredibly comfortable, and since they're all made in limited runs, I know that this edition I wear is a lot like a rare work of handcrafted art.

Like many designers, Rose outsources the production of her line. "Since it takes an entire day to make them, and since I have a baby to love and a dissertation to write, I decided to have someone make them for me," she says.

"There's a new collection coming out in February with more fabrics—pima cotton; flannel; thin, soft cotton lawn. A couple collections down the road I look forward to trying new styles, with short sleeves or Capri pants. I'll maybe even make gift baskets with robes, tea and books. It seems the people ordering my pjs are diverse—some people really love the solid, classic colors, while others go for the funky prints."

I was glad I got the funky prints. Her Web site, launched in the fall of 2006, shows her designs with names like "Tunisian Moon," "Afternoon Tea" and "Indian Summer." Even if you're not a new mother, these pajamas are the perfect fit, especially if comfort and stylish uniqueness are priorities. Rose has proven that it's possible to succeed with your own business, using thoughtful design, high-quality natural materials and ethical business practices. Considering everything that keeps Rose busy, I'm assuming that there are also lots of cups of coffee.

"I am always working on the style," says Rose, "as my goal is to perfect the classic pajama."

Capri Rose's pajamas are available at www.caprirose.com.

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