Georgie Charalambous and Natalie Bouloux are not just a ‘design duo’ — they are so much more. They are best friends, they are aperol spritz buddies, they are leaders in sustainable design, and they are the brilliant minds behind Neoss, their London-based fashion brand.
School friends from a young age, the idea to start a fashion brand together came after they realized a shared obsession with neoprene. From there came their first collection of bags and swimwear inspired by many things, though at the centre of it was 80’s ski outfits. While neoprene ignited their shared vision, it was only the beginning.
“After the bags, well…we had always really wanted to do womenswear. That was the idea right from the beginning. It was just really organic from that point. Nothing has been majorly discussed, like how we go to the next point of our journey. It just happens! We spend a lot of time together so it is very easy for us to stay in tune with one another,” explains Georgie.
Their first collection of womenswear featured neoprene pieces but also expanded into other made-to-order pieces as well, such as a thick corduroy suit, loved by men and women alike.
“At our booth in Paris, we had a couple buy the corduroy jacket to share. That was the best,” shares Natalie.
For their second womenswear collection, which comes out later this year, their mutual love of fabric was once again the starting point, but this time it came while roaming around Paris.
“We happened to find a place where extra fabric had been donated from big fashion houses. So what we are actually using are off-cuts, what would have been wasted is now new,” says Georgie.
Natalie expands, “It is a very limited, very small collection. Some pieces we might only make one of. But that’s what makes them special.”
They’ve based their upcoming collection on the constraints the female form has been put under over the centuries. The structured silhouettes seen in their first collection will still be present but they will be integrated into something that is not restricted, as they have also drawn inspiration from body movements and Italian sculptures.
This intention to build on each collection, rather than dismiss their past designs, sets them apart from the fashion design norm. Each collection, after its time, is integrated into the next.
“It’s less disposable this way. We are encouraging people to cherish and look after their clothes,” says Georgie.
In fact, a new section of their website titled Love Me Tender sweetly encourages ways to care for your garments. Sections titled If It’s Broke, Just Fix It and Be Gentle & Be Cool, offer guidance on ‘how to love and care for your clothes so that you can live happily every after and help the planet do the same.’
For Natalie and Georgie, approaching their brand from a sustainable point of view is not about just having a unique selling point.
“Everyone should be doing this. We have one planet. What we hope people understand is that there is a lot of craftsmanship behind the clothes. Sourcing the fabrics takes time, the process is longer. And that’s why it costs a bit more. So instead, save up for something beautiful and buy less,” says Georgie.
At such a young age, the thinking and creative process behind Neoss is as impressive as their skill or their designs. And above all, the connection between the Natalie and Georgie is likewise inspiring.
“Could I have done this with anyone else? I probably couldn’t have. We’re very close. So close that we can be angry at one another, we can be snappy, and the next moment it can be forgotten. And we are lucky in that respect.”
All photos: Neoss London