Georgie and Alice chat all things Dotty Dungarees with My Wardrobe HQ
How did your professional relationship begin?
Alice: We’ve never not worked together!
Georgie: We sat next to each at our very first job fresh out of university and we haven’t moved very far since!
What was the initial inspiration for Dotty Dungarees and how did that evolve to where you are today?
Georgie: We always talked about setting up a company, but it wasn’t until we had our own children that we came up with the idea of re-creating the dungaree.
Alice: We always had a very strong idea of the brand we wanted to create and - amazingly - we haven’t strayed too far from it. We wanted to bring back the carefree nostalgia that we felt was lacking in today’s childhood; to us dungarees are the synonymous with what we feel childhood should be - no fuss, carefree, adventure; a world where anything is possible.
Did you always want to work in fashion?
Georgie: Absolutely not! I am the most unfashionable person ever! I do love classic clothes though and I think that for kids, dungarees are the most timeless clothes they can wear – perfect for boys and girls, babies crawling and older kids exploring outside for hours on end. Now that we have six children between us, we‘ve been able to spend a lot of time testing them out! So I really love the clothes we have created. I know they work and I think they are the perfect way to create childhood memories.
Alice: Not at all! It never crossed our minds. We both come from far more technical backgrounds so we never anticipated doing anything so creative. But - far from what we thought - we came to relish the creativity behind the business and the freedom it brings.
At My Wardrobe, we are inspired by female leaders (being headed up by two incredible women, who are also great friends!) Could you share your top tip for leading a team
Georgie: We’re really lucky. We have always worked together and our friendship grew out of that – so it has never been complicated mixing friendship with work. We think very differently and I think in some ways, that helps too! We are also really honest which isn’t always easy but means that we stay on the same page and we also have the same priorities, both in terms of what we want from our own lives as well as what we want for the business. It’s very much part of our lives and our families – new styles and shapes always involves testing things on our kids and the photo shoots have become one big playdate!
Alice: Honesty. As Georgie says, the ability to tell it how it is (no matter how bad!). And being in it together. Total partnership... we complement each other and yet we are very different!
We all have fond memories of wearing dungarees when we were kids, did the inspiration for the brand come from your own childhood memories?
Georgie: That is exactly it! We were always outside in a pair of pass me down dungarees and when we came to dressing our own kids, we couldn’t quite find the same thing.
Alice: Exactly! I think our entire generation grew up in OshKosh, then a premium brand. We loved looking back at faded old dungaree-clad photos. We’ve used some of our old 80s get ups for inspiration along the way!
Does focusing on one product create limitations or do you find it an opportunity to be more creative?
Georgie: Because we were never in the business of fashion, our only aim was to perfect this one wardrobe staple. We spent several years trying to re-design the humble dungaree - tweaking shapes and fabrics and making sure every detail was as it should be. We would never have been able to spend as much time/attention if we hadn’t focused on one product. It definitely allowed us to learn on the job!
Alice: I also think having a core product has helped us make a name for ourselves – there are so many beautiful childrenswear brands out there and it’s sometimes hard to carve out a niche. But we stick to what we know! Our customers keep coming back for the next size and the next season. We may do one thing but we do it best.
Could you share some inspirations and references for the new collection?
Georgie: We try and base each new collection on a different kind of childhood adventure… and this one was inspired by windy winter walks across the moors, finding treasures in the heather and pretending to be a grown up at the wheel of an old school Land Rover!
What is most important to you when choosing an outfit for your children?
Alice: We think the same in this one... we love classic shapes - not too trendy and not too formal - clothes that allow the freedom to explore. Nothing too fussy and where possible, unisex so it can be passed between siblings and beyond.
What is your favourite from the new collection and if you were dressing to twin with your little one, which piece would you personally choose rom the My Wardrobe platform to match?
Alice: I am obsessed with all things cord so my pick would be the Patti Jumpsuit twinned with our Navy Cord Dungarees.
Georgie: I love the Nordic Blue – it’s such a great colour on both boys and girls and is bright without being too much! I would probably twin with a House of Minimus boiler suit… we are working on a twinning option for adults next winter so watch this space!
The rental retail model is a great way for customers to consume sustainably. Is finding sustainable options something important to your business ethos?
Georgie: 100% - in fact the whole ethos of the brand is based around this. We want to make clothes that really last, that can be passed down and kept for the next generation. It’s the most important thing for us – that the clothes are worn over and over again. Our clothes reflect this too, they aren’t too fashionable and will never go out of style. We work with sustainable partners who have the same approach in their own business.
What were your favourite outfits as a child
Georgie: I had a pink pair of dungarees (no doubt passed down from my sister!) which I loved. And some pink Nike shoes to match!
Alice: I remember some bright pink stripe leggings and a baggy t shirt with badges all over it. I thought I was super cool age 8 looking like neon skater barbie!
And finally, is there anything you wish your parents hadn’t dresses you in?!
Georgie: I had some really full on party outfits – puffed sleeves and giant polka dots!
Alice: it was the 80s... there were quite a few shockers!