Meet Georgie, the woman who created Willow Shoes and Redwood Clothing. She was recently interviewed by FashioNZ and we're sharing her story about starting Redwood Clothing during a retail year like no other! Also read about some of her own personal fashion tips, her favourite pieces and what you'll never catch her wearing!
Georgie Falloon is the founder of Willow Shoes which she launched in 2001 as a catalogue service, and Redwood Clothing which launched in late 2020. Both businesses are aimed at tall women, with Willow Shoes offering a range of footwear from size 10 and above, and Redwood Clothing offering garments that have been cleverly redesigned to fit tall women better. Being a tall woman with size 12 feet herself, Georgie is passionate about helping other tall women find pieces that make them look and feel great. She created Willow Shoes after being unable to find a pair of shoes that fit her and that she loved for her wedding in 2000, fast forward nearly 20 years since the launch of Willow Shoes and Georgie saw an opportunity to help tall women access beautiful clothing from mostly New Zealand designers that also fit them well too. Redwood Clothing is now part of the four Willow Shoes stores in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch.
We caught up with Georgie to find out more about her brands, what inspires her and what you would never catch her wearing!
Tell us about your latest collection/pieces?
Redwood Clothing is a new store for tall women. Over 20 years ago I was called a crazy woman when I went out on a limb and created Willow Shoes… a store for women with long feet. And then, during the strangest ever year to be in retail, I took another leap and gathered together some willing and wonderful NZ designers who all went out on a limb to redesign their top selling styles for tall women and have created Redwood Clothing. This time I had a wonderful crew of women right there beside me which was so great. It was a crazy experience with couriers taking three weeks for samples to get from Auckland to Christchurch and sending little home videos of our test fitting back to HQ because we couldn’t travel. Our first collection is a core range of gorgeous wardrobe classics that any woman can work into her life with some imagination. We prefer quality and things that will last over fast fashion. Our plan is to grow our range with mainly NZ designed and made brands. The most exciting thing is the difference you can feel when you put these clothes on… if you’re tall, there is no going back after Redwood Clothing, it’s the best feeling ever. The most memorable moment so far has been trying on the Storm Satin Tuxedo Pants in my usual size but made longer for Redwood… this Storm classic, now with a longer hip rise and longer leg length, is the best fit ever! I gave my old pairs away and will never go back!
What inspires you?
I really admire authentic people who face into their challenges, know who they are, are clear on what they believe in and can be truly comfortable in their own skin. These people are not always famous and I can think of so many in my everyday life. And connected to that, I have a real passion for noticing women affected by how they feel they look when they’re taller, or have longer feet… that can be negative. Seeing women like this over the years (at Willow Shoes and now Redwood Clothing) shift into a place of real confidence is one of the best rewards of what we do.
Describe your personal style and how it influences your designs?
I think you should start the day with looking and feeling as good as you can and it starts with what you wear. My style is classic with a twist, I mix up colour and I’ve always been able to create style with more dash than cash if needed. I grew up around fashion and always had a good sense of what works for me… orange is a favourite and wasn’t recommended for red heads when I was younger but I wear it anyway! Re-inventing something in your wardrobe with new shoes or a colour is great fun. Right now I’ve turned my all black gym gear ensemble into a statement at the supermarket by adding a long’ black linen coat by X.LAB that’s in our Redwood Collection.
What is your all-time favourite purchase?
It’s a big toss up between high heel black Italian boots and a beautiful long purple woollen coat. Both I have had for years and still wear. The boots are the most incredibly comfortable pair in the world – even at 8cm high. The Italians are craftsmen and I’ve never in 20 years of shoe retailing, had a pair like these. And my coat is pure NZ wool and was custom made for me with longer arms (an extra 2 inches!) and a longer body so the waist sits in just the right place. I’ll be wearing them for years to come.
What wardrobe item should everyone invest in?
I think every woman needs a leather jacket… it’s the one thing in your wardrobe you can rely on to say ‘style’ without needing to try too hard. I searched for over a year until I found one at Storm. I’ll admit the sleeves are too short and the waist sits a bit too high… but eventually we will have these at Redwood Clothing and I’ll get a new one that’s longer in all the right places!
Do you have a style rule you always obey?
Oh yes… break up the colour block! There will be no Maxi Dresses in my life ever! When you’re tall, its about breaking up your size a little bit… shoes need seams or colour changes, and clothes need different coloured tops and bottoms. An optical illusion is important to a lot of taller women like me.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
There are 100’s of letters and emails we’ve kept over the last 20+ years from Willow Shoes customers who feel different about themselves because of our shoes. It’s the same with Redwood Clothing. We’ve kept them all.
What can’t you live without?
Coffee, and the simplicity of my farm based life. Ironically my favourite footwear at home is a pair of men’s John Bull Boots
Finish this sentence – You would never catch me wearing…
Tracksuit pants and ugg boots! Those bulky items are just a step too far for someone who is tall with size 12 feet!
Do you need clothes that fit your taller body? Discover Redwood Clothing here...
Looking for shoes that fit longer feet? Find Willow Shoes here...
Interested in New Zealand fashion? Find more here...