A former designer of the US Olympic Snowboarding Team uniform, Katie O'Riordan has gone back to her roots with Theo + George - creating an innovative lifestyle brand with a convenient, user-friendly online approach, writes our fashion editor
Theo + George is a relatively new but very exciting brand to the marketplace. The Irish brand is building a keen fanbase amongst those who like premium, accessible clothing designed to fit in seamlessly with your life - am and pm, from the working week into weekends off. Designer Katie O'Riordan's philosophy is "a life of conscious simplicity" and her intention was to create a brand of "reliable wardrobe staples that wearers can get mileage out of", combined with thoughtful, stylish yet functional touches.
The brand - named for Katie's grandfathers - is only available online. This keeps prices down and avoids mark-ups, says Katie. Originally from Philadelphia, the mother of two young daughters has a degree in physics. "When I began Theo + George, I wanted to change the way people shopped by choosing well and buying less," she says. "I'm a busy mum of two and understand the stresses of deciding what to wear every day. A wardrobe full of essentials allows me to get more from life, with less. Each piece is carefully crafted to look and feel effortless, and adapt to my needs, day or night, home or office."
Each season her label delivers its "best of" wardrobe staples, as well as seasonal-driven pieces or design tweaks to its key pieces. The brand has partnered with a factory in Mongolia that allows complete transparency of its production chain.
All of the tees are sourced in Portugal to ensure the highest-quality production standards. For AW18, the 'Lillian' crewneck tee (pictured left and right in white) features a blend of modal and cotton. It is made to be worn, and washed, over and over again.
The 'Elliotte' rolled-sleeve sweatshirt (pictured above right) is made from 95pc cotton/5pc spandex, making it a perfect weekend-wear choice. For comfort seekers, the 'Sarah' satin bomber jacket (pictured in navy overleaf) comes in buttery soft fabric that feels like a second skin. The 'Sheridan' cashmere turtleneck (pictured far right) is a luxurious staple. The lightweight, slightly sheer, 100pc cashmere makes it "the ultimate day-to-night arsenal", says Katie. The timeless collection also features premium luxe cashmere jumpers retailing at €159.
Katie opted to launch as an online-only brand because she "wanted to take the risk out of shopping online by offering a 'try before you buy' option for our customers. Within Ireland, we allow our customers to try the garments on in their own home risk-free by offering free shipping and returns. We don't charge their credit card for the first six days. Instead, our system holds the card details for six days, similar to how a hotel would hold your card for incidentals. We are then able to only charge the customer for what they decide to keep.
"If the customer isn't able to return the items to us before the six-day window is up, we still offer free returns and will credit their card in full for whatever they return. We have partnered with DHL to make the shipping even easier: they text you before they deliver your parcel to make sure someone will be there to receive it. Also, they come to you to collect your returns so you don't have to make that extra trip to the post office. For us, it's all about convenience and making it easier for our customer to shop."