Poppy Lissiman is the Aussie designer you didn’t know, you know. The namesake brand of designer Poppy Lissiman is a favorite of It Girls Bella and Gigi Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski, Caroline Vreeland and Aimee Song to name a few, who are constantly seen rocking her sunnies around fashion weeks worldwide. This animal-loving, vegan made and sustainably conscious sunglasses and handbags brand features fresh styles in fun colors, cool silhouettes and retro-yet-revived quirky looks that make accessories fun once again!
LAFM sat down with Poppy to get the deets on how she developed her brand, the inspo behind her latest collection, and what’s next for this It Girl Favorite Designer, check it out below!
LAFM: Poppy, we love the unique designs of your products-they’re different, beautiful and trend-setting, can you tell us your story and how you eventually created your eponymous brand?
Poppy Lissiman: I originally started the brand in 2008 as a high-end womenswear label, then switched over to accessories in 2014 after I saw a gap in the market for well priced, high fashion vegan bags. When I was doing womenswear, I was adhering to the traditional retail model with wholesale and seasonal collections, and didn’t see much success with the brand outside Australia (where our seasons are obviously opposite). It wasn’t until I changed over to accessories and went direct to consumer that the brand took off and has been a steady rise since then!
I’m originally from Perth in Western Australia and currently live and work in Sydney on the East Coast of Australia now. I love traveling and am so thankful that the brand has allowed me to spend a lot of time overseas in recent years (including LA which I love!)
LAFM: We love that you’re taking a positive stance while being in the fashion industry, can you tell us about the sustainability aspect of the Poppy Lissiman brand? And what can other companies do to take the positive steps you’ve already taken?
PL: Since I started doing accessories I knew immediately I could never capitalize off pieces made from animals so being vegan/cruelty free has been a foundation of the brand since the start!
In the last 2 years I have been researching how we can be more environmentally friendly as well, this year we started using R-PET fabric for the lining on all our bags (which is made from recycled, post consumer plastic bottles which would otherwise be destined for landfill). We’re also aiming to be be plastic free in all our packaging by 2020 – right now I have corn starch eco bags in production which we will be substituting for anywhere where plastic would normally be the other alternative.
From my experience making these switches has been very challenging, the options out there are still limited and the small handful of companies which are making these types products often have high minimum orders and are much more expensive than their less eco counterparts. However the changes in the industry are coming in fast and I believe more and more companies will be offering these options soon, prices will drop and it will generally be more accessible.
My advice for how other companies can take the positive steps is I guess you could look at what you’re currently putting out to the market and analyze which elements you can substitute for an eco alternative. For us I saw that we could make the switch for our linings but not the outside of our bags as the recycled plastic options for imitation leather still weren’t up to the standard we would normally use – but I’m confident we will get there soon as the technology catches up.
LAFM: What inspires you in your collections? Can you tell us about the design process from start to finish?
PL: Anything and everything can inspire a collection, to put it down to a single answer would be too hard! I listen to a lot of music, visit art galleries as often as I can, read and spend too much time on the internet like most people.
My design process can vary depending on the style but more often than not I will sketch my ideas in my sketch book, then when I am confident I have come up with the right design I will render it digitally in photoshop then send to my factory. We will work through any issues together then do a CAD drawing, discuss any other concerns before signing off and starting the first sample.
Once the sample is made we either make additional changes for a re-sample if needed or if the first sample is all good we will put that style into bulk production.
LAFM: And lastly, what do you see for the future of the Poppy Lissiman brand?
PL: Expanding the product line… I would love to get back into clothing or try my hand (or foot) at footwear… Before I started my brand I worked for a locally run shoe store for 6 years so I have a huge love for footwear!
Check out Poppy’s latest collection available now here, but don’t say we didn’t warn ya, these pieces are fierce and you may need to grab every one!