Ashley Merrill: Changing the Rules of Fashion

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Wanting to feel comfortable and reflect one’s inner confidence. This was the mission that saw Ashley Merrill creating Lunya sleepwear. As someone who worked from home, Merrill found she was wearing her husband’s boxers and t-shirts. The comfort component was there, but the impromptu outfit didn’t mirror the confidence she embodies. The question emerged: Is it possible to feel empowered wearing clothing one can sleep in? “The desire to feel comfortable and confident became an aspiration. I wanted to be comfortable while being my best self.”

In the seven years since the brand’s 2014 launch, Lunya has experienced an evolution. “The way we interact with our home has changed,” Merrill says. This was evidenced by the reaction to Lunya and its accompanying line for men, Lahgo. Being at home has become an event unto itself. One for which people “show up.” It’s this mindset that draws people to Lunya designs like the Washable Silk Button Down Pant Set, Washable Silk Robe and Washable Silk Elastic Strap Jumpsuit becoming wardrobe go-tos.

Washable Silk Button Down Pant Set

Washable Silk Robe

Washable Silk Elastic Strap Jumpsuit

COVID, of course, expedited Lunya’s mission. “A lot of us are thriving with the flexibility working remotely provides us,” Merrill says, “but what do we wear every day?” Fans have fallen for Lunya’s transitional nature – proffering ZOOM-worthy and professional styles for important work calls, all while feeling cozy.

Lunya especially speaks to the Los Angeles lifestyle. “We have an effortless, outdoorsy, wellness-oriented lifestyle here,” Merrill, an Angeleno herself, says. “Your day can start off with a walk on the beach, then jump straight into meetings.” This fluidity, she says, is conducive to wearing Lunya. “Our designs aren’t traditionally pajama-like,” Merrill says. “We took away the reason you wouldn’t wear these pieces out in public.”

A realization people began to have, Merrill says, “Functional things can be beautiful, and that’s profound.” This is taken into consideration with Lunya and Lahgo product designs, particularly with sleep in mind. Tiny, non-slip dots ensure waistbands don’t ride up. Mulberry worm silk and organic pima fabrics thermally regulate body temperature and allow for machine washing without color fade (Lunya uses environmentally-friendly dye) or pilling. “We look at our fabrics from every lens: usability, environmental and the human body.”

Though Lunya’s origins began online, brick and mortar stores, known as “Bedrooms,” have been drawing customers in over the years. Currently, there are locations in New York and Atlanta. A Melrose Avenue Bedroom is due to open this month. “We have such tactile products, we’d be doing a disservice by not letting people touch and feel them,” Merrill says. Beyond this, “We want to reposition the bedroom as not just a place where you crash, but where you creatively rejuvenate yourself.”

The new Melrose store should accomplish exactly through design elements from LLand’s Rachel Shillander that range from Organic Modernism to “Barbarella space ship” to disco.

Both the Lunya brand and its “Bedrooms” are thought-provoking and inspiring. Perhaps one reason Merrill has been touted as a role model for women seeking to be successful in both their professional and personal lives.

“Who am I to create the rules?” she says humbly. “If a product makes you feel comfortable, confident and works well for your life, then that’s what counts.”