Baby London (Jan/Feb 2015)
Alice Goldsmith and Georgie Parr Design dungarees to suit the active lifestyles of their children, Dolly and Otto. We went behind the scenes with alice on one of their photoshoots…
How did the idea for Dotty Dungarees come about?
Thinking back it was quite spur of the moment. We both love dungarees and remember them being a big part of our childhood – they conjure images of outdoor adventures, naughtiness and old-school fun, things that are all very important for young children. Otto, Georgie’s son, was a little older than Dolly at the time and lived in dungarees that his grandmother had shipped over from the US – there was very little on offer in London. So we set about creating our own range and combined the names Dolly and Otto to come up with Dotty Dungarees.
Why did you decide to focus solely on dungarees?
They’re the most practical item of clothing from newborn to five year olds, by far. We also wanted to make clothes that were unisex, could be worn for up to a year with almost no wear and tear and were fun. Dungarees ticked all those boxes. They’ve been the essential item in Otto’s and Dolly’s wardrobe since they were three months old. The dotty linings started off as a play on the brand, but we soon realised that they allowed us to make dungarees that lasted longer and still looked great.
We love the fact that they’re unisex…
Yes, apart from the pink pair that we just couldn’t resist, we’ve designed all our dungarees to be unisex so that they suit and fit any child. They’re hard wearing too, which means they can be passed on to friends or siblings, or siblings of friends.
If girls want a bit more of a feminine touch then there is a little bow belt, but the dungarees work for both sexes. It took months to source the right fabrics. The material we use is soft and warm, so that teeny tinies are comfy and the older ones who disappear for hours on end don’t come back with colds.
How much were your creations inspired by your own childhood?
Both Georgie and I pretty much lived in hand-me-down dungarees throughout our childhoods. There are endless photographs of me as a very blonde toddler with very chubby legs sticking out of dungarees, whether they be dungaree shorts or dungaree dresses.
You live in Barnes with your husband Zac (Conservative MP for Richmond Park) and your lovely rescue dog, Murphy. Do you try and inject a bit of country-living into the city?
Barnes is the perfect place for small children to grow up – I love it. I try to spend lots of time outdoors with Dolly making trips to London’s Wetlands (where I got married); feeding the ducks at Barnes Pond; exploring the Leg of Mutton Nature Reserve; and walking along the river. We’ve always got Murphy, our very strange-looking but adorable wire-haired mongrel with human eyes and enormous ears, in tow. He adores Dolly but isn’t very well behaved – he chases anything that moves.
Do you design with Dolly in mind? Is she happy to be your muse?
Dolly is a reluctant muse whereas Otto, Georgie’s son, is far more amenable. He’s a little bit older than Dolly and adores wearing dungarees.
How does your partnership with co-founder Georgie work?
We’ve known each other for years and we tend to share most tasks such as design, branding and strategy. Georgie now lives in Beijing with her family – husband Maxim, son Otto and their new baby Eloise – and primarily takes care of production while I look after sales from London. With the time difference we pretty much have a 24-hour office.
What is it about dungarees that conjure up the image of freedom?
Dungarees are all about giving children the freedom to run around, to get into trouble and jump in muddy puddles without a care in the world. They’re perfect for messing around outside, climbing trees and rolling down hills. Ours are loose fitting and made of the softest, most comfortable yet durable fabrics so that children can play and let their imaginations run wild. They’re practical too. You can throw a pair on in the morning and they’re good to go all-day long. There are no exposed midriffs and there’s no need to strip down if a nappy needs to be changed (we have zips between the legs for quick and easy changing). Not only are dungarees a complete outfit in themselves, but children can have fun for hours on end without adults fussing over them getting cold or looking messy.
For the original interview, and lots more, see the Jan/Feb issue of Baby London. Out now.