Lunya founder Ashley Merrill wants men to look as good in bed as women.
The sleepwear innovator on Oct. 19 will introduce a mate for women’s line Lunya — the new men’s brand, Lahgo.
The name Lahgo is a play on the word, lago, or lake, in Italian and Spanish. “We liked the visual that a lake connotes, of peaceful waters and flexibility,” Merrill said. “It’s a beautiful visual to evoke for something that’s meant to relax you.”
Revealing that Lunya will open two stores before the end of the year, one in Atlanta, and the second in an as-yet-to-be-determined location, Merrill said that seven to 10 new units are planned for 2020. The business so far been self-funded. “I may do a round in the near future.”
Merrill in 2016 launched Lunya for herself, and other women like her, who wore their husband’s or boyfriend’s T-shirts and briefs to bed because they didn’t like the sleepwear options on the market — sexy lingerie or frumpy pajamas.
With the goal of improving women’s sleep, Merrill developed fabrics to help regulate body temperature. Lunya’s Cool collection, made from Pima cotton infused with TransDry and XT2 technology, was created to help with night sweats. Restore pieces are a blend of Pima cotton and Celliant, a mineral compound used in fibers to increase circulation, which absorbs and converts body heat to infrared energy that’s recycled back into the skin and tissues to help you recharge while you sleep, Merrill said.
“For Lunya, we knew what we wanted, as women. My team is mostly women, so we operated from a place of deep knowledge,” Merrill said. “We didn’t want to guess [for men].”
Merrill held focus groups, asking men about the activities they do at home, and why their go-to pants are their favorite pair. “Some things they said really surprised me,” said Merrill, who gave her husband a seat at the table.
“Men struggle with some of the same issues as women and some different things,” Merrill said. “Temperature is just as big of an issue for them. They sleep in less clothing than women. Softness was the number-one conversation they wanted to have. Men are very, very tactile.
“Women are all about the aesthetics, first,” Merrill said. “I knew a woman wouldn’t want big, baggy pockets on her thigh area. You can create a lot of optical illusions with the lines of your clothes. You can create flattering pieces. I was really unpacking for men what makes them feel self-conscious.
“We’re able to speak to the functional component with men,” said Merrill, who made tweaks to Lahgo styles, such as adjusting pockets so the many things men like to put in them don’t fall out. The first products, sweatshirts and joggers “function in and out of the home,” Merrill said. “We will speak uniquely to men.”
Lahgo, which is launching with more items, 12 to 15, versus Lunya’s 10, and more colors, will be sold at lunya.com and Lunya’s stores in Manhattan’s NoLIta and Santa Monica, Calif.
Merrill said there was strong demand for launching a men’s brand. “A lot of men were asking for this,” she said. “A lot of men don’t know what they’re supposed to wear to bed. I want people to feel like their best selves at home. I felt I was excluding men and I don’t want to exclude anybody.”
Lahgo was designed to hold up to wear and washings, Merrill said, adding that a man should feel “as comfortable in his sleepwear as he does in his own skin.”