Presenter, writer and designer Dawn O’Porter lives in Los Angeles with her husband, the actor and comedian Chris O’Dowd, their one-year-old son Art, dog Potato, and cat Lilu… Her new ‘Equality’ women’s clothing collection is available at

You’ve just created a new range for your clothing line BOBbyDOP with illustrations by Karen Mabon – tell us about it
I love the idea that fashion and politics collide. So I thought I’d splash messages of sexual equality all over some brilliant clothes. I’m a strident feminist so the Women Are Boss dress (pictured above )is all about women in the work-place, nailing it.

You’ll see a few babies kicking around too, because I launched BOB at seven months pregnant and I’ve done the whole thing with a baby on my hip. It’s been hard, but we did it.

The Women Are Boss collection features women-only board-rooms, women at work with their babies… What’s been your experience as a woman in business?
My experience is good because I set up my own enterprise. I work my own hours and mostly from home, but I also try to be ‘family-friendly’ to my staff. One of whom has two kids and gets to pick them up from school every day. Family-friendly hours are a great idea and completely possible. I don’t understand why more companies don’t work with parents more to balance the kids and work.

In the long run women are happier at work if they have a good balance, so as an employer I will always aim to make that possible. I think it’s hard to be a mother in business. You have to make certain sacrifices. Employers should be more sensitive to that.

Dawn with her husband, actor and comedian Chris O'Dowd

How do you balance motherhood and work? Do you find yourself feeling pulled in a hundred different directions?
I did last year, I found the balance really hard. Art was so small and I really didn’t like having childcare; I had to, and Chris had him a lot while I needed to work on BOB. But I hated being away from him even for a day. When he was three months old I got offered the opportunity to have a pop-up shop in London. It was so massive for BOB I had to say yes.

I worked in there a lot, and I was still breast-feeding. I’d pump downstairs and Chris would bring Art into the shop for feeds. We made it work but it was hard going. I’d work all day then do the night feeds. But I was happy he was still doing night feeds because it was special time just for me and him, and I didn’t care how tired I was I just wanted to snuffle him.

Now he’s one I feel really on top of it all, and our schedule is perfect. I have Art every morning until 9am, then Chris has him for an hour, then he naps. Childcare arrives at 11am and Chris and I go to our offices to work. I get home at 5pm and take over. Sometimes I work late on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Chris does bedtime. At the weekends we all just hang out together. It’s a pretty good system. I use those hours in the day very well.

Modelling 'Love Wins' leggings from the new collection

What kind of mum are you?
I’m very cuddly and I sing to my son and dance around and I try to make him laugh. I’m more interested in him being full of character than academic. I don’t think I’m very overpowering or over-protective. I want him to develop into who he really is, I’ll guide him rather than try to shape him.

Tell us about what inspired the ‘Boys Toys’ skirt
The gender-specific toy industry. All the boys stuff is so fun: trucks, fire engines, soldiers. And then the girls stuff is so silly. I find that really annoying. I’m not saying girls don’t like that stuff, I know they do. I did as a kid, but I don’t like the way toys are divided by gender. I think all of it should be for all of them. So I just played with the idea of that and put traditionally boys toys on a very feminine skirt. Women love it!

What’s been the biggest surprise about motherhood, and the greatest challenge?
The greatest surprise is that I talk about poo ALL the time. The biggest challenge is the amount of poo I have to deal with.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
I actually don’t know; hopefully a very successful business, maybe another kid… Lots more books written. I suppose all that would be nice but I really don’t think that far ahead. Our life is pretty hectic, I’m not even sure where we will be next month so I live very much in the moment.

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