Meet Georgina Neill Ryan, The Founder Behind Sustainability-Driven Retailer Slowe

Slowe has created a new space within the multi-brand model that focuses purely on conscious brands,” says founder Georgina Neill Ryan. “Our goal is to be the global go-to destination for sustainability across fashion, beauty, and homewares.”

The sustainability-focused entrepreneur spent years working at one of the top French luxury brands as a Merchandise Planner as well as David Jones as a luxury Brand Manager before launching her own label. Witnessing the negative impacts of fast fashion—textile waste, carbon emissions, exploitative labor practices—she set out to create a solution. Thus, Slowe was established with modern and timeless essentials that transverse across fashion and beauty.

Slowe removes the challenge of vetting brands that are sustainable and ethical, making it significantly easier for customers alike to enjoy brands that align with their ideals without comprising style. Currently, the online retailer stocks brands such as LESSE, Buvy, Baina, Selfe Studios, and Ziah among several others. As the label continues to grow in size, Slowe aims to bridge the gap between convenience, style, and sustainability.

We had the pleasure of chatting with Georgina about launching Slowe, the multi-brand retailer boom, sustainability within luxury, and more. Read on for our conversation.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background. What inspired you to launch and pursue creating a curated selection of brands through Slowe?

My name is Georgina Neill Ryan, and I am nearly thirty, eeek…although three is my lucky number, so I’ve got a good feeling about my thirties. I live by the beachside in Freshwater, Australia. I began my career in accounting, lasted a short three months, and then switched to luxury merchandise planning and buying, which I have been doing for the last seven years. My background has been instrumental in my vision and strategies for Slowe.

Growing up, sustainability and living a conscious lifestyle were vital to my family. My nan handmade clothes and I grew up on acreage, and we had an abundance of veggie gardens. These experiences and stories have shaped my purpose and values of living a responsible and conscious life in all aspects of my personal and professional identities.

The inspiration from Slowe came from a personal need and frustration. I would search the web looking for responsible brands that could fit my style, but even after finding a brand, the next challenge came. There was a lack of transparency about the brand’s environmental and social responsibility. I recognized a deep need for an empowering destination for those seeking to shop sustainably and ethically without compromising their personal style. I thought, why doesn’t this exist, it was a no-brainer, and the idea of Slowe was born.

The multi-brand and resale market has blown up in recent years, especially during the pandemic. How does your platform fit into the conversation, and what goals are you hoping to achieve through it?

The pandemic saw a take-off in new innovative platforms, Slowe included. I started my career in a multi-brand retailer and progressed to a luxury fashion house, so I have seen benefits to both sides. After working in the fashion industry for 7 years and being witness to the sustainability issues, it was a very natural progression for me to create a platform that represented the future of fashion not just from the brands we select but how we do business and challenge the traditional business models and practices.

Slowe has created a new space within the multi-brand model that focuses purely on conscious brands.

Our goal is to be the global go-to destination for sustainability across fashion, beauty, and homewares. For us, it is early days; however, the sky’s the limit. As the reseller market has taken off, we see this as an opportunity to embrace, and there is the option for us to become a circular retailer.

As an entrepreneur who focuses on sustainable luxury, how do you make sure those narratives come through in the brands that join your platform?

Storytelling and transparency are crucial to connecting with our community and to share our brand’s stories. For us to truly understand a brand’s purpose and sustainable practices and to tell their narratives authentically, we conduct a responsible journey assessment. This comprehensive assessment evaluates each brand and product’s environmental and social impact across the supply chain, ensuring it meets one or more of our sustainable attributes and ascertaining its environmental and social merit. As a result, Slowe ensures these brands are leading the way towards a more sustainable future, setting a new standard and new luxury.

A dedicated brand page is rare to be seen on multi-brand sites. So we are really proud to offer this at Slowe; our dedicated brand page features the brands’ journey, sustainable attributes, and curated product assortment. This allows us to present the brand in line with their values and our sustainable luxury approach, allowing our community to connect and learn.

Though there are brands that are still against the multi-brand model, many of the newer fashion and beauty labels thrive in these spaces due to how much exposure and distribution can take place. How would you describe the relationship you aim to create between brands and platforms such as Slowe?

When creating Slowe, I approached it from a multi-brand and single-brand lense. We intend to create a connection and appeal to brands that align with our vision. From a brand’s perspective (especially smaller brands), the multi-brand model has numerous benefits from the additional exposure, new customers, distribution channels and leveraging an established brand’s reputation.

The relationship between the brands and Slowe is based on connection and alignment of purpose and values. Every brand on Slowe is committed to positively impacting people and the planet. At Slowe, I have aimed to create a curated and connected assortment by having brands that compliment each other but don’t compete on their product assortment. I genuinely believe there is room for brands to sit side by side whilst having the space on a platform to stand out.

Shifting the conversation slightly, how would you describe your personal style?

It is timeless, cool and conscious. My style is quite minimalistic, but I love adding elements of texture and a pop of colour and playing with sizing and shapes to create a unique or one-of-a-kind look. You rarely find me in a dress; I am a pants person! If I had to pick one outfit to wear for my whole life, it would be a pair of denim jeans and an oversized shirt, and you can’t go wrong with this combo! My wardrobe is filled with vintage denim and my dad’s oversized shirts.

With that being said, how do your professional and personal interests intersect?

My professional and personal interests have intersected since I began my career in fashion. I have always connected to style and am fortunate to have created a career from this. This intersection of personal and professional interests has further evolved and intertwined with Slowe, combining my love of sustainability and fashion.

Keeping the world of sustainability in mind, what kind of community are you looking to build through Slowe over the course of these forthcoming years?

We recognize that sustainability is a journey for us, our brands, and our community. Every day we learn how best to be responsible and make the most significant impact. We will continue to strive to push boundaries, be transparent and educate our community. We hope to build a connected community based on trust and education as we believe this ignites purpose and empowerment. If we can make a change in just one person or invigorate passion and understanding, then we have made an impact. Connection is key to humans and the planet and I would love to one day have a physical presence of a brick-and-mortar store and hold workshops to bring together and connect the Slowe community.

Elsewhere in fashion, we comprised a list of some of our favorite knitwear designers, ranging from Ellis Jaz to Tatjana Haupt.

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