Timeless Lingerie and Loungewear With Personality
Layla L’obatti, Founder of Between the Sheets
New York, NY
I’m the biracial daughter of a first generation immigrant mother from Iran, and grew up on the west coast but moved to NYC for college and have lived in NY ever since. I am a trained Fashion Designer and received my BFA at The Fashion Institute of Technology’s Intimate Apparel program.
Up until about 3-4 years ago I was a classic workaholic entrepreneur until when I realized my body was literally burning out. I developed multiple autoimmune conditions and my migraines became way too frequent. I resolved to readjust my expectations of success and develop some work/life balance.
We moved to the Hudson Valley (about 1.5hrs north of NYC) around two years ago and I took on gardening with the goal of supporting birds, & wildlife - I love watching all the animals that visit us. We picked this home because on our first visit a blue heron flew up from the pond behind us! I’ve gotten some amazing photos of hawks, the blue heron, and great horned owl that pass through our backyard. The first year in our home we planted a ¾ acre wildflower meadow. My next project is building a rain garden and I’ve roped Josh, my husband and partner, into planting several hundred saplings we ordered through our state’s conservation plant sale.
I also enjoy painting in watercolor, and hunting for antiques to decorate our home. Josh & I are both lifelong vegetarians and we cook a lot. He is an environmental lawyer and our shared passion for the environment and sustainability influences both our choices in business and personal life.
As far as design, I’m inspired by the way clothes used to be made, so vintage lingerie and athletic wear as well as burlesque, golden era Hollywood & bellydance are all things I have looked to for style inspiration. I also have more personal sources of inspiration, like how I have always picked up bird feathers that cross my path so I designed a collection (Birds of Play now sold out) where I designed a lace with feathers on it. Materials themselves can also be inspiring, like finding a way to use a new lace can be the genesis of the design.
Between the Sheets is lingerie and loungewear with personality, created for the daily ritual of rest and rejuvenation.
Between the Sheets began as an event during my sophomore year at FIT [Fashion Institute of Technology]. Because of a change in course structure, FIT decided to no longer put on a sophomore fashion show. I was part of the first class to not have this opportunity, so I started an event that would provide me and my fellow classmates with a venue to showcase our work. I ran it for three years, graduated and worked in the industry for 2-3 years.
During those years in the industry I really became disheartened by the behind the scenes conversations about sourcing – always looking for lower prices and no discussion of conditions or ethics. I also saw few prospects for advancement and had in the back of my mind this name that I put work into building so I decided to design my first collection. I began working on it in 2008 and we officially began shipping in 2010.
We’re a certified B-corp and entirely Made in USA! I think people think we are much bigger than we are, but it’s just me and Josh and we answer all of our customer service emails personally! By working so close to our factories we can also drop in on production and regularly inspect and pack our own goods.
I think this is also something we don’t see talked about in the sustainability of fashion but the whole idea of fashion is trends that change seasonally (or almost weekly in fast fashion) that make what you own look ‘old’ as soon as the new clothing hits the shelves. As part of my design ethos I really want our newer collections to work with what you already have – if you have some pieces from us a few years ago they will not look outdated (we’ll use the same color in a new material) so it will coordinate with pieces we have today.
By being Made in USA (specifically NY) we can guarantee that our factory uses cleaner energy and workers are protected by OSHA and wage laws. We are a certified B-corp and guarantee a portion of our sales will go to support the planting of trees worldwide through 1% for the planet. We use 100% recycled and recyclable poly mailers.
We have a few collections that use micromodal fabric that is oeko tex certified as well as made in a mill in Italy powered by renewable energy. We source lace from one of the last lace manufacturers in USA.
There’s a lot more, basically every little decision in business is an opportunity to practice sustainability but to keep the list brief those are some of the bigger ones!
That is a hard one! As a designer I’m most proud of some of our luxe range, specifically Arabesque bra & tap pant set that was really inspired by my Persian/Iranian roots and love of vintage lingerie details & silhouettes. But as a consumer I get the most joy in wearing our Venus in Play sets in summer and Curtain Call lounge sets in winter.