Handmade, eye-catching, and always a little left of centre, Poppy Lissiman is for the spirited and self-assured. Poppy makes eyewear in an eclectic range of colours and shapes that bring to life the face of every muse who wears them. It is scientifically proven that different colours impact the beholder's mood, feelings, and even behaviour. Yet, the psychology of colour is something we rarely consider when it comes to compiling our closets. Colour plays a huge role in Poppy's designs and personal aesthetic, and a shade or hue will often be the starting point in her designs.
This passion culminates into a technicolour dreamscape, with Poppy's love of bright shades, natural wine and 80s Japanese pop music steeped into her unique designs. Talking to Poppy is a welcome reminder that our modern 'uniforms' of black and beige come to life with some pops of colour, and our appetite for a wardrobe that is truly uplifting has never been bigger. Accessories with a flourish feel like a perfect place to start.
“Colour plays a huge role in my designs, inspiration and personal aesthetic.”
“I often start with an idea of the colour of something I want to design first and think about how it looks afterwards.”
“I go through massive stages with colours where I become obsessed with a certain hue.”
Tell me a little about your upbringing. What is your family like?
I’m really close to my family. Both my parents are directors of my label and have big roles in the day-to-day running of the business. I also have a younger brother who’s a graphic designer and has also done quite a bit of work at Poppy Lissiman when it comes to designing prints and updating lookbooks!
How would you best describe what you do professionally?
I’m a designer and run my e-commerce store.
What drew you to fashion design?
I’ve always been very into fashion and making my own outfits and clothes. My mum taught me to sew from a young age. When I left school, I started working in fashion retail and immediately felt like I had found my calling. I initially didn’t think I could make a career out of it, but the more I worked with other people who were just as obsessed with fashion as me. I realised there wasn’t any other industry I could imagine myself in.
Tell me a little about Poppy Lissiman. What motivated you to start the label?
When I started my label, the intention was to create a stepping stone to having my own brick-and-mortar store one day. I saw having a label as being the first step to getting my name out there. It was initially dressy, occasion wear for women, way back in 2008. I was 19! I’m not the same person I was then, and the label is completely different to how it started. I think that’s a testament to still being in business today, adapting to survive.
What do you enjoy about it?
I get to be creative almost every day and have the freedom of working for myself with people I love. I love the business side of having a brand as well, problem-solving and strategic planning. I’ve also had the pleasure of collaborating with some of my favourite artists, which has been such a treat.
What inspires you professionally?
I love learning new skills or working with new mediums. I’ve really enjoyed working across new categories as my design career has progressed. For example, making sunglasses was such a learning curve compared to making dresses. At the moment, I am working on a homewares line which has been super inspiring and enjoyable.
Tell me about your day-to-day. Where do you live?
Currently, I am living in a house my husband and I bought in Fremantle, which we have almost finished renovating. My office is nearby, and I am there most days.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I try to start most days with a bit of exercise, usually pilates or weight training. Then I have a cup of tea and listen to my favourite news podcasts (The Economist, The Guardian’s Full Story & The New York Times’ The Daily) while I get ready for work. Then I head into my office, where I usually spend the first half of the day replying to emails. It’s always the goal to quash the most pressing ones before lunch, so I can have lunch and return to the office to spend the remainder of the afternoon being creative. I usually leave the office at five to come home and spend some time with my husband and dog Skuttle. We usually like to go for a bit of a walk and then make dinner together. After dinner, I will sometimes spend another hour or so replying to emails followed by doom-scrolling in bed.
How would you describe your personal style?
Comfortable and colourful.
What role does colour play in your designs? And in your personal aesthetic?
Colour plays a huge role in my designs, inspiration and personal aesthetic. I often start with an idea of the colour of something I want to design first and think about how it looks afterwards. I go through massive stages with colours where I become obsessed with a certain hue.
Is there a piece from your wardrobe that you ‘can’t do without’?
Socks. My feet are always cold.
What or who is inspiring your world at this moment?
Probably the interiors at the moment. I’ve been quite obsessed with architecture and interiors for a while, but in recent years and definitely more since the pandemic and being shuttered, I found my obsession escalated.
Describe your workspace – where is it located, and what do you need around you to feel creatively motivated?
I’ve been working in Sydney for the last four years, so I’ve just refreshed my office here now that I am back in WA. I’ve got a lovely forward-facing bookshelf with some of my favourite design books and a desk I designed and had made out of a walnut burl, and an off-cut of a slab of dark green marble. To be motivated, I usually need the space around me to be relatively tidy. Otherwise, I will procrastinate until it’s all in order again. I often struggle to design at home because there are too many chores I get distracted by! I’m lucky that I can work almost anywhere so long as I have my laptop and a notebook to sketch. However, when I’m really deep in the design development stage, I do need a bit more space for all my materials swatch cards. They can be a bit chaotic when they are all spread out.