Dawson+Hellmann: Fun and Dreamy Sleepwear with an Edge

Dawson+Hellmann: Fun and Dreamy Sleepwear with an Edge

During the last 5 months, we’ve stayed home and safe; that has been abundantly clear. Loungewear has been the daily uniform, and we’re now almost exclusively on the hunt for the most comfortable yet stylish clothing we can find. While many are comfortable living in cute tees and sweatpants or leggings, some of us need variety and something with a little more pizzazz. If you’re looking for luxury sleepwear, loungewear, and bedding with an edge, look no further than Dawson + Hellmann!


Photo courtesy of Dawson + Hellmann. Credits: Josh Huskin


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Dawson + Hellmann is a San Antonio based, female-owned brand founded by Sonya Dawson and Analise Hellmann, specializing in sleepwear, loungewear, and bed linens with very tongue-in-cheek messages. From pot toile to colorful pills and matchsticks to the Kama Sutra in a chinoiserie toile style print, they set out to have fun with classic silhouettes, while aiming at a generation that “grew up with a modern sensibility toward bedroom etiquette, and that may include sleep aids, marijuana, and sexual innuendo.”, stated Dawson. “Most of the stuff you see on the market is generic or clichéd,” Dawson said. “We wanted to do something a little different, with an edge to it, that would also make you smile. We were inspired by a strong, beautiful woman who has a sense of humor. Everything we do is elegant and feminine. It’s sexy, not slutty.”


Photo courtesy of Dawson + Hellmann  


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While luxury sleepwear and bedding tend to be on the more serious side, Dawson + Hellmann has created a collection of high-quality, high-end cotton bedding, from sheets to shams, as well as pajamas, nightgowns, chemises, babydolls, and billowing kaftans – all printed and embroidered in India and Vietnam – all with risque prints done such a way that you would have to do a double-take to notice. “We kind of started backward,” says Dawson, in an exclusive interview with Style Lush TV. “We started with bedding, even though most people told us that bedding is really hard to sell, especially with our ‘racy’ message. So, when we developed the pajamas and babydolls, that’s when it really took off for us.” Their Kaftans, come in a variety of lengths and prints, such as Valley of the Dolls and Absinthe Fairy, which are an homage to the Parisian Belle Époque at the end of the 19th century, while other prints like the Mosaic Floral variations are a hippie blast from the past inspired by the classic ’70s “Sultana” maxi dress by the British boutique brand Adini. These can be worn for lounging at home in comfort or poolside, or your next socially distanced beach getaway. “They are very Endora from ‘Bewitched,’” Dawson said. “They cry out for gold slippers.”


Photo courtesy of Dawson + Hellmann

Their original target audience was meant to be Millenials, but they quickly realized that their demographic was closer to them in age than they thought. “We started realizing that people who really got the joke and found it most humorous were women in their 40s and 50s who may have indulged in their college years, but then went on to marry and raise kids,” said co-designer Analise Hellmann in an interview with the San Antonio Express News in 2017. “I think you have to get the joke; you can’t be too serious about yourself. Obviously, if you have a problem or are recovering, that’s a different story. But, I think most of us are sophisticated enough to find the humor in it.”

During this time, they have been listening to their audience and learning to pivot with the times. In the beginning, Sonya tells us that they were pleasantly surprised by the response and increase in sales, especially in the loungewear. “As it goes on, I think everybody is taking a hit because people are starting to feel demoralized, in general”, said Dawson over the phone. “I can tell that people are feeling frustrated, but I really don’t think that fashion is dying. These extreme headlines are just scary, but we’re pivoting, just like any other industry.” When it comes to developing new prints, Dawson tells us that some of the freshest and innovative prints she’s seeing are coming from Africa and India. “We have so many ideas and when things like what we’re going through happen, we tend to evolve. And while we’re staying true to our irreverent and subversive style, we want to continue to produce a very well-made and put together product,” said Dawson. Like many designers, they’ve decided to wait until the pandemic slows down before pulling the trigger on the latest collection, but they have many fun things in the works and we’re looking forward to seeing what they do.


Photo courtesy of Dawson + Hellmann. Credits: Josh Huskin


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Hellmann has worked for many years in the fashion industry with renowned companies like Guess, May Department Stores, and Bernardo Fashions, to name a few. She then ventured into the film industry as a set decorator for shows such as American Horror Story and One Mississippi, on Amazon Prime created by comedian Tig Notaro. Dawson, who’s ex-husband is actor Alex Winter, best known for his role in the 1989 film Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, has worked in Hollywood herself, as well, making commercials and music videos before coming home to San Antonio to run the family business. Blue Star Ointment was invented by her grandfather, who founded the company, which Dawson sold in 2017. The pair met as teens in the 1980’s during their underaged club days in Houston, TX, and have been friends ever since.


Photo courtesy of Dawson + Hellmann


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So, as we get ready to stay cool this very hot Summer weekend, we’ll be sporting our favorite flowy short Valley of the Dolls Kaftan, while sipping Rosè by the pool! If you love Dawson + Hellmann as much as we do, be sure to check out their site dawsonhellmann.com and follow them on Instagram and Facebook.

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Jeanelly Concepcion
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Originally from New York City, Jeanelly is of Dominican roots. Having lived in Puerto Rico for over 22 years, she now enjoys a highly successful fashion blogging career at TheFashionLotus.com. She is a Texas influencer and has been a freelance fashion contributor for Style Lush TV for several years. She believes in empowering women through fashion and helping them feel beautiful no matter what their financial situation, body shape, age or where they live or work.