When you left the house (before the delivery) you never knew what to wear? Do you feel like there’s nothing in your closet that could function as a kind of uniform for various occasions? Isabel Costa felt the same way and that’s why she created The Life Juice – a luxury brand for “pajamas”. Though they affectionately call them pajamas, these Lisbon-made pants and shirts are for everything but sleeping.
She was a model, fashion editor for the now-extinct women’s magazine Cosmopolitan and lifestyle editor for Lux Woman. Then she moved to the fashion clinic, where she is the buyer of the women’s department. Isabel Costa is no stranger to the fashion industry. “All experiences have given me a different point of view,” he tells PÚBLICO.
Isabel Costa, founder of The Life Juice DR
Now he dared to have his own brand without entering the fashion market, he explains. It’s not “associated with brands and logos” and I wanted pieces that almost “served as a uniform”. So he found an old concept again: pajamas. “It’s not for sleeping,” he is currently warning.
But if it’s not for sleeping, what are Isabel Costa’s pieces for? It guarantees everything. “It’s a neutral, practical and refined concept” for a “woman who likes to travel, but is also at home with friends, comfortably, with elegance and style,” explains the founder of The Life Juice. He sold the first ten pajamas he produced to close friends and customers. Now they are reaching the whole world, from the USA to Qatar to France and Belgium.
The name comes from what Isabel Costa wants: “a lifestyle brand”. “I’m not a designer,” he recalls. And for this reason it doesn’t want to be a fashion brand, but rather to convey its view of life “with curation”. First he looked for an African name for the project after living in South Africa for many years, but could not find anything that “comprehensive”.
Feeling of exclusivity
The Life Juice pajamas are inspired by the classic male model of pants and shirts. However, the trousers do not have the typical ties of pajamas to fasten, but an elastic band on the side and buttons with a loop.
Most of the fabrics for the pieces are brought by Isabel Costa on her travels. She has already brought fabrics from Italy, France, Bali, Spain, India, always in small quantities, which gives pajamas a feeling of exclusivity.
Isabel Costa never makes more than three pajamas out of any fabric. Sometimes there are substances that only give a copy. “There is no price to be paid for this exclusivity,” he emphasizes. Each model brings its “experiences, inspirations and dreams” and “to propose to a person to spend his money”, he emphasizes, “it has to convey all this in order to be a common dream”.
Pajamas aren’t exactly cheap – it depends on the model, but they cost around 600 euros – but on top of that feeling of exclusivity Isabel Costa talks about, they’re entirely made in Lisbon in a small family centenary factory. “Otherwise it wasn’t possible,” explains the businesswoman, given the reduced size of the brand.
Life Juice wants to become more and more sustainable and only make pajamas to order. In other words, make a sample model available on the website and only produce in the sizes that you ordered.
The patience to wait for the order, Isabel Costa hopes the pandemic has brought consumers: “A new way of thinking and changing some consumption habits.” The old mannequin demands that quality is chosen over quantity: “Do I need another item of clothing that I only wear for two weeks?”
Because of this, Isabel Costa’s pajamas aren’t glued to the seasons. In winter they can be worn with sneakers and a sweater over them, suggests the businesswoman. In summer she likes to wear them with flat sandals. “Portuguese women have very specific tastes, it is difficult to accept new ideas,” she complains, but she encourages “taking risks”.
Risking is exactly what you want to do at The Life Juice. The brand will soon be expanded to include products for the home. However, pajamas will always be Isabel Costa’s specialty, but never for sleeping.