As they say, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree," and that certainly holds true for Georgia Scott and her mother Nicola Orriss. Physically, the two resemble each other, with brown hair, a wide smile and taller-than-average stature. When it comes to personal style, there are many similarities too. On this day, in early July, Scott and Orriss even wear the same jacket; Scott's is black, while Orriss, not afraid to be a bit bold in her fashion choices, dons a white version with neon orange shoulder detail.
"I used to really annoy my ex-boyfriend because often, either mum would buy something that I'd like or I'd buy something that she'd like, so sometimes we had the same things," Scott explains, smiling. "He thought it was shocking," Orriss chimes in with a laugh, "But it is shocking!"
Given their similar sense of style, it's not so shocking that, in 2009, the two went from mother-and-daughter to business partners, with the establishment of Georgia in Dublin, a small range of "elegant Irish rainwear."
The tailored jacket they both wear, known as the Hustle & Bustle, is one of their products - though, at first glance, it gives no hint of its rain-proof status. Like the jacket, the rest of the range steps outside the box, and away from the boxy shapes of traditional rain gear.
"The outdoors is so well catered for, but it's very bland in a way," Scott says. "I think there are a lot of wonderful brands, but to me they lack style in a way. There isn't that funky element that I like to bring into things. [Those brands] are very much outdoor clothing, whereas when you look at our things, nobody's quite sure. You wouldn't necessarily know this was a rain jacket," she adds, signalling to her Hustle & Bustle.
Scott and Orriss launched Georgia in Dublin in December 2009 after the idea had germinated for about two years. Before starting the company, Scott worked in interior design, while Orriss was a language teacher and translator who had always dabbled in dress design and alterations. "I wanted her to realise her potential fully," Scott says of her mother, who serves as the designer and unofficial keeper of the range's look. Orriss steadfastly sticks to their signature style, which takes inspiration from 18th century Georgian Dublin - one reason for the company's name.
|Nicola Orriss and her daughter Georgia
Scott say they have, “a good balance of
partnership,” in their business.
Source: Georgia in Dublin.
Before the rainwear, the two collaborated on Bin Thinking, a very informal business that involved making woven wastepaper bins out of recycled paper, such as shopping bags and architectural plans. The positive response from friends and co-workers prompted the women to set up shop at markets around Dublin, though, they admittedly never took the work very seriously.
Bin Thinking did, however, lead Scott to take a business course and it was then that the two developed the framework for Georgia in Dublin. At the culmination of the course, Scott was the only student with a real product, despite having some "major businessmen" as classmates. "I think they were quite impressed with us," she says.
The concept of Georgia in Dublin came directly from Scott's and Orriss' everyday lives, as they craved products that would allow them to cope with the fickle Irish weather, while not stripping them of their sense of style.
Scott found inspiration in her commute to one of Dublin's large industrial estates, which she describes as a wind tunnel. With her umbrella rendered useless, she wished for cover-ups that could be put on at a moment's notice and would serve their purpose whether she was on two wheels or two feet.
Likewise, Orriss' workplace experience got her thinking. "I was teaching English to French businesspeople and the women would ask, 'Where can I get some nice rainwear?'" she recalls. "I would send them to anywhere I could think of and they would come back very disappointed, and I thought, 'There's an opportunity there, definitely.'"
|The Rainwrap is a feminine alternative to
waterproof pants and doubles as a picnic
Source: Georgia in Dublin.
She adds: "I was [also] working for somebody who was very fond of his carpet and every time I arrived, I was fine until I got into the place. I had a big cape or some very wet item to shake all over his carpet. I was thinking, 'I would love to be able to arrive here in style - on a bike!'"
Though Scott doesn't let her mother off easy for taking inspiration from a carpet, she wholeheartedly agrees. "The whole thing is just a hassle and it puts people off cycling, which is something that I personally have always wanted to encourage. If we can encourage people to keep cycling - not just in the summertime - that's great. That's a job done, in a way."
The two arrived on the scene with a solution to the wet weather at the perfect time, just as a "cycling revolution" was getting underway in Dublin. "It was great that we started when we did, because we came in tandem with [the birth of the bike culture]," Scott explains. "It's good that we got our groundwork done before the craze hit off."
Scott and Orriss believe the tide began to change in January 2009, when the Irish government introduced a cycle-to-work scheme. The initiative allows businesses to purchase bicycles and accessories for their employees free of tax. Just eight months later, in September, the government made another push for cycling with the launch of dublinbikes; a city centre bike-sharing program. Wildly popular, as of February 2012, the bikes had been used more than three million times and boasted more than 66,000 subscribers, in a city council-controlled area of just over 500,000 people.
While many Dubliners have recently taken to two wheels, Scott and Orriss have enjoyed cycling for years. "I remember feeling, especially in secondary school, that people were looking towards cars more and you were sort of the nerd if you arrived on your bike," Scott recalls. "But I just love it and I feel very free. It's when I do most of my thinking as well. It's relaxing, I find - even in Dublin."
|The award-winning Leggits! are designed to
keep pants and shoes clean and dry in
Source: Georgia in Dublin.
Though Scott and Orriss produce bicycle-specific items, they emphasise that Georgia in Dublin is for general outdoor living. From basket covers, to the ever-popular Rainwrap wrap-around skirt, each of their six products checks the "versatility" box - a Georgia in Dublin design commandment. "It has to have at least two functions," Scott says. "It's very important, because when you have gear for this, gear for that, gear for the other, if you forget it, then you're often stuck."
For example, the Rainwrap can function as a festival or picnic blanket. For busy, on-the-go mothers, it also doubles as a changing mat and play space. Then there's the pretty Dorothy Cover for bicycle baskets. Scott uses it as a bag to put other gear in, while Orriss often pops it on as a rain hat.
In the nearly three years since they launched their company, the women have reached many milestones, from receiving their first shipment from the factory to picking up a design award for their Leggits! shoe covers at the 2011 Eurobike Awards. Still, they are constantly looking forward. "Every mountain becomes a molehill as you go over it," Orriss says. Presently, the women have two more products to introduce. They are also considering designing more menswear and a line for children.
Scott and Orriss do not, however, feel pressured to constantly create new items. "We're sort of skirting around the fashion industry," Scott explains. "I do not want to be in the fashion industry… If you want to buy the next thing in the range, great; but we're not going to be churning out things for the sake of seasons and then dumping them. So environmentally as well, we feel we have a role to play in not creating waste."
What they will continue to do is help people feel stylish on and off the bike, even when it's pouring down. "Before we started this, we were looking back over our collection of rain coats and they're the big orange ones," Scott says. "You know, you don't feel like yourself [in them]. Everything we do is colourful, so on a wet day at least you see a nice pink basket coming toward you," she adds. "It's lively. We want to boost morale in the depths of winter."
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