Calida’s functional sleepwear is great. But I feel I've seen it before?
Product test

Calida’s functional sleepwear is great. But I feel I've seen it before?

Wearing cotton pyjamas in bed? That’s about as out as bubble tea. Functional’s the word of the moment when it comes to sleepwear. Swiss company Calida has also copped on to this and drawn inspiration from its competitors for its Deepsleepwear range.

I’ve been testing my Dagsmejan pyjamas for two years now. I guess you could call it a long-term test. They were the first non-cotton pyjamas I ever tested. Ever since I started wearing them, all my pure cotton pyjamas have been gathering dust in my closet.

Calida’s the top dog on the Swiss pyjama market. A dog with mainly cotton fur, that is. After taking its sweet time, the long-established Swiss brand has finally launched a line of so-called functional pyjamas. Compared to cotton, the fabrics used for functional sleepwear are stretchier, retain their shape better and have better moisture absorbing properties.

Calida’s new line is called Deepsleepwear. It includes shirts and pants made from various modal fabrics. (All the products of this line are available right here in our shop.

Calida Deepsleepwear Balancing
T-Shirts
89.90 CHF

Calida Deepsleepwear Balancing

Modal fabrics consist of regenerated cellulose fibre often obtained from beech wood. Alternatively they’re made from eucalyptus or, as is the case with Calida, from algae. A special chemical process is used to dissolve the cellulose before it’s spun into fibres. Modal is characterised by its softness, smoothness and high stability. These properties are the reason why modal fabrics feel particularly pleasant on the skin, making them ideal for underwear, nightwear and T-shirts. In addition, they’re absorbent, breathable and crease-resistant. The fabric is also considered sustainable. One of the largest modal manufacturers worldwide is the Austrian company Lenzing AG. Their modal fabric is marketed under the name Tencel. Seacell is also a registered trademark of Lenzing AG

Calida Deepsleepwear has three lines: Warming, Balancing and Cooling. This reminds me a lot of Dagsmejan. The Zurich-based start-up has been researching and producing sleepwear since it was founded in 2016. They also offer three lines: Stay warm, Balance and Stay Cool. Is the semantic similarity purely coincidental?

For testing purposes, Calida provided me with a pair of short Balancing pyjamas. It’s apparent that the well-established company based in the Lucerne area is venturing into new realms with its Deepsleepwear. Instead of being wrapped in plastic, the shirt and shorts arrive in square silver-grey boxes. The packaging designers have got rid of the original, but also somewhat garish Calida yellow.

The Deepsleepwear arrives in fancy flat boxes.
The Deepsleepwear arrives in fancy flat boxes.
Source: Martin Jungfer

Calida’s high-tech pyjamas also stand out from their previous products in terms of price. The new range of pyjamas is pretty pricey. But they are made from the supposed miracle material Tencel. In other words, a modal fibre instead of cotton. My colleague Pia Seidel recently wrote about the trend fibre in more detail. It’s less damaging to the environment as its production requires less water than cotton.

Calida mainly relies on modal fibres usually obtained from eucalyptus or beech fibres. In addition, 28 per cent Seacell goes into their products. This particular modal fibre’s made from Icelandic brown algae, which is «harvested in an environmentally friendly manner,» as the packaging states. My research reveals that only the upper part of the algae is harvested, which means it can grow back. The brown algae grows in the cold waters of Iceland’s fjords. This is said to make it rich in minerals. In concrete terms, we’re talking about magnesium, calcium, potassium and phosphorus, as Calida informed me upon request. The miracle plant also contains trace elements including iron and iodine, vitamins and amino acids.

Active ingredients designed to survive the washing machine

Listen, it’s not like I want to eat my pyjamas, but they do sound pretty nutritious. Icelandic seaweed is actually given to horses in summer as a mineral feed. How much of these ingredients remain in the fabric after it’s undergone complex chemical processing is another matter. After all, it’s essentially only the molecules from the source material that are turned into fibre. The same goes for the material that «cares for the skin overnight thanks to the revitalizing properties». Sure, this sleepwear feels silky smooth, but it’s not a lotion after all. However, the fabric is said to contain 80 per cent of its valuable ingredients – even after 50 wash cycles. At least according to the website of Smartfiber AG, which works together with the modal fabric manufacturer Lenzing AG.

A study commissioned by the University of Jena (link in German), proved that a small piece of the algae substance can indeed bind more free radicals in a test tube than cotton. Free radicals are caused by stress, UV radiation or air pollution and make your skin age more quickly.

The shirt features the new logo.
The shirt features the new logo.
Source: Martin Jungfer

The advantages of the algae fabric and all the blessings it’s received are eloquently described on a Calida page online. To date, there have been no long-term scientific studies on whether this actually makes your skin softer or improves your sleep. Having said that, I do come across this statement on the box:

The natural minerals, vitamins and antioxidants contained in the algae are proven to care for the skin and support cell regeneration.

Research in this field has only been done for food and cosmetics; not for clothing. Subjectively speaking, I feel very comfortable in the Deepsleepwear I was given to test. I’m neither sweaty nor cold. Modal fabrics are much more breathable than cotton. I’m not bothered by any seams thanks to the flatlock machines used in production.

The T-shirt's a little too short for tall guys

My Calida pyjamas contain seven per cent elastane, which makes them fit nice and snug. Compared to other pyjamas I wear – by ISA or Dagsmejan, for example – Calida’s products tend to have a wider and shorter cut. My size L shirt has a back length of 72 centimetres. That’s a difference of three or four centimetres compared to the competition. According to my late grandmother, my physique is more on the beanpole side, so I would have liked the shirt to be longer and tighter.

In terms of design and colours, I’m seeing a lot of Dagsmejan. Warm, earthy shades of blue and green and a contrasting waistband, for example. Even the printed silver-coloured logo is present in both Calida and Dagsmejan PJs.

Two shorts that look as much alike as the Klitschko brothers. (And before anyone asks: No, I don’t iron my pyjamas).
Two shorts that look as much alike as the Klitschko brothers. (And before anyone asks: No, I don’t iron my pyjamas).
Source: Martin Jungfer

Conclusion: I’m sticking with the original

With its Deepsleepwear, Calida has launched a product that meets the growing need for functional sleepwear. I would make a bet that Calida’s product design and marketing was at least inspired by Dagsmejan’s pyjamas. The latter might even feel flattered by this.

If you want to treat yourself and make the switch from traditional cotton pyjamas to the more expensive Calida Deepsleepwear, there’s probably no going back. The modal fabrics really feel different, are proven to be more environmentally friendly and retain their shape and pleasant feel even after countless washes.

However, my favourite PJs are still the ones by Dagsmejan. Not least because I value their research efforts and their collaboration with renowned experts. That’s why I’ll be sticking with the original.

Header image: Martin Jungfer

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Journalist since 1997. Stopovers in Franconia (or the Franken region), Lake Constance, Obwalden, Nidwalden and Zurich. Father since 2014. Expert in editorial organisation and motivation. Focus on sustainability, home office tools, beautiful things for the home, creative toys and sports equipment. 


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