Freelance photographer and stylist Greta van der Star spent so much time in her pyjamas she teamed up with a friend and created luxury sleepwear label General Sleep.
Itry to take my weekends. If I don’t it’s very easy for my weeks to bleed over and I never end up having a rest day. Often my partner, Tim, is away during the week – he shoots documentaries – but he’s often home on Sundays so it’s quite a nice day just to go really slow and enjoy our time at home.
We’ll normally hang around in bed for quite a long time and argue about who’s going to make coffee. Whoever makes coffee also makes breakfast. So we’ll have breakfast in bed and sit in bed for a while and read and kind of plan the day. We wake up quite early, but hang around in bed till 10 or 11.
We both really enjoy cooking for each other and making up new surprise breakfast recipes. If I’m cooking it will probably be something like chilli eggs. If Tim’s cooking, he’s master of the breakfast bowl – so, like, coconut yoghurt and chia and toasted nuts. We’re also kind of obsessed with claypot cooking at the moment.
Tim and I try go on a bit of an adventure and take our cameras with us, which is kind of nerdy. We both shoot a lot of film. We have so many beaches close by. We go on little missions together.
I got my first camera when I was 16. It was just an SLR 35mm classic learning camera. I decided to study photography at high school and my granddad also took lots of photos. I have memories of standing outside his darkroom, which was beautiful. To get to it you had to walk through his begonia greenhouse... I remember waiting outside until the red light turned off so I could come in and have a look at what he was doing.
I’m definitely drawn back to the desert and the south-west of the States quite a lot. I just keep going back. Maybe it’s because it’s the opposite of New Zealand. It’s dry and sparse with warm colours, whereas the light in New Zealand is quite blue. It’s got this really intricate ecosystem within it as well, which you don’t see at first… quite nourishing, medicinal plants existing in these really sparse, dry environments. I think there’s a lot to learn there. It’s just a different way of existing. And also I think a lot of creative stuff happens in the desert.
I think it’s good to be conscious about looking at what’s going on. Not just in photography, but in films and books and podcasts. It’s just always good to feed yourself and not get stuck in your ideas. It’s more interesting if you can push yourself and explore new realms, new platforms, new mediums.
We spend so much of our life in bed. If you’re a pyjama wearer it’s probably the garment that you wear the most. You spend, let’s say, eight hours a night sleeping. You might lounge around in them on the weekend as well. Some days I just get home and put my pyjamas on and continue working, just because I want to be more comfortable. If you’re wearing that garment a minimum eight hours a night that gets more wear than your clothing. So it’s quite important for it to be durable and well made and comfortable and a nice fit.
We’re just thinking about what we want. We just want to keep General Sleep really simple and work more on the fit and the style than putting out new things all the time. It’s more important for us to be considered in what we’re doing. We felt there was a gap for the four pieces we launched with… and we’ve just slowly added things as we wanted them. Like a brushed cotton for winter and a robe and the bedsocks.
It kind of just happens organically. As we are starting to think about something, we will just make it … and also what other people want. We created our unisex trousers because some of our friends who bought our pyjamas said that their boyfriends kept stealing their pyjama pants to wear on cold mornings. We’re working on a new style at the moment. Hopefully it will be here for summer. It’s kind of robe-like, but