Riley Studio

In My Shoes With Riley Studio

At Clarks, we’re serious admirers of Riley Studio - a truly sustainable fashion brand revolutionising the way we look at our wardrobes.

So, we were excited to sit down with co-founder and CEO Olivia Dowie and find out more about her unique journey into the slow-fashion world, Riley Studio’s gender-free circular design, and the label’s pioneering new products (that’ll be on your wishlist, pronto).

Tell us about yourself? What makes you tick?

I’m Olivia Dowie, the CEO and Co-Founder of Riley Studio: a gender free sustainable fashion brand. I’ve lived in London for 10 years now but am a country girl at heart, so I love to start my day with a run around Hyde Park with my husband and our dog. It helps clear my mind and get me ready for the day ahead. Plus, it's a sacred half hour of my day where I'm not checking my emails.

How did you get into fashion/what drove you?

My route into the fashion industry was certainly not the typical one. I started my career in travel and spent years crisscrossing the world organising large events - but after a while I became increasingly aware of the harmful impact that lifestyle was having.

I came into fashion through a friend’s mother, who wanted to revive her heritage cashmere business. She offered me the opportunity to run it. I took a leap of faith and went to work with her for two years (with no experience!) and have never looked back.

Define ‘sustainable fashion’?

Sustainable fashion is all about being circular. It starts with design, utilising the right materials and creating a product that not only has an extended lifecycle but can be repurposed back into the system to minimise our impact on the planet.

It is about slowing down, consuming less, and really focusing on those key wardrobe staples that you turn to time and time again. It’s about quality over quantity - I still have some of my grandmother’s cashmere!

What is style to you?

To me, style is a language of personal expression. That’s why we design without gender at Riley Studio, focusing on individuality instead. I love how equalitarian that approach is.

What can we expect from the brand?

We have so many exciting new products launching in Collection 07. My favourite is our Recycled Nylon Food Waste Puffer Jacket - the fabric is a technical Japanese fabric dyed using onion skins and rice husks. It’s really unheard of to use natural dyes on a synthetic fabric, so this jacket represents a big step forward for the industry.

At Riley Studio we are continuing to build this timeless, sustainable wardrobe and as a result have some really exciting collaborations coming next year.

“Sustainable fashion is about slowing down, consuming less, and really focusing on those key wardrobe staples that you turn to time and time again. It’s about quality over quantity - I still have some of my grandmother’s cashmere!”