True Innovation: Elissa Poppy
Elissa Poppy is innovating on the entire concept of LATEX WEAR. We spoke with Elissa Poppy, creator of her namesake brand that is breaking intimate apparel boundaries.
Tell us a little about your brand. When were you founded? Where?
Elissa Poppy was founded in 2016. I had recently graduated with a first class honours degree from De Montfort University, Leicester, UK, studying Contour Fashion (the design of underwear, swimwear and sportswear). After my graduate collection had been featured on the catwalk at Graduate Fashion Week and also on Vogue, our Instagram following began to rise and with it more and more people wanted to buy the collection. I had always dreamed of owning a brand of my own and had a real business ethos, so I thought why not? And Elissa Poppy was born!
What inspired you to specialize in latex?
I think I saw latex as a challenge. It has a very controversial history in fashion and lingerie with its fetish roots. I wanted to take that history, celebrate it, and bring it into a new light that made it more wearable for the wider audience. In my second year of university we had a project where there were no rules, you could go crazy, so I took a roll of latex and started experimenting. I laser cut it, pleated it, painted it, printed on it - everything you could do to a normal piece of fabric I did to this roll of rubber and I was hooked ever since!
What a lot of people don’t know about latex is how sustainable it is as a fabric. Latex is vegan friendly and although it is often marketed with other fetish wear fabrics like PVC or anything plastic, it is actually naturally sourced from the rubber tree, making it a renewable and biodegradable source. We use the highest quality latex, sourced from our two UK based suppliers and every item is handmade in our UK studio. We keep production as local as possible and are on first name bases with our suppliers – just the way we like it!
What makes Elissa Poppy stand out against other latex lingerie specialists?
We aren’t like anything else on the market, we have innovated new techniques such as Lacetex® and Marbletex® which have always been our stand out methods against other latex brands. But I mostly think we stand out because we’re bringing something new to the table. We’re highly fashion focused and have brought latex into the latest trends of today and not of the past. We have a range of different products to suit different needs. Our RTW Collection that launched last year has a turnaround time of 48 hours which has been unheard of before due to the manufacturing process latex holds. We’re proud of our aesthetic, our innovations and designs give the material a luxury feel like nothing we have seen on the market so far.
I think we offer women something that is totally different to anything else out there. We have advanced in new techniques that no other brand offers. Each piece is its own little statement that is certain to leave a lasting impression. Whether you’re dressing up for yourself or someone else, having an evening out, or want to introduce a new style into your wardrobe. We have something for everyone with an added bit of luxury that won’t be forgotten very easily.
Tell us a little about your material “Lacetex.”
I invented Lacetex® whilst at university. I wanted to celebrate latex and its history but give it a more feminine feel. I experimented a lot with it as a fabric. On a lingerie course the most common and ‘go to’ material students use is lace. And although I loved latex, I wanted to find a way of combining the material with feminine fabrics such as lace to create more of a delicate and ‘lingerie feel’. And so, with a lot of experimentation, Lacetex® was born.
Lace is obviously a celebrated fabric within the lingerie industry, it’s got a great deal of historical value behind it as a fabric. By using Lacetex® within my own designs I feel like I’m bridging a link between fetish and feminine. I think that by softening the feel of latex through the use of lace, customers that are new to latex get a gentler introduction to the fabric, which makes them feel more comfortable in experimenting further with my other pieces.
What’s it like making every piece by hand? Do you get overwhelmed with the construction aspect?
It takes a while to master making latex pieces. It’s very hands on. Nothing is sewn, it’s is all glued and bonded, so there is very little machinery. Even when you’re cutting out the pattern pieces you can only do one layer at a time, so a single rotary cutter is enough. It may be overwhelming to a beginner, but I am much more skilled than when I first started this process so now I find it all very therapeutic and an every day job.
What’s the best way to care for latex garments?
Because latex is a natural fabric there are a few rules that need to be followed but its nothing crazy compared to other fine garments. Firstly, only ever hand wash your items in lukewarm water with a very soft washing up liquid or even better our BeGloss cleaner. No tumble drying or ironing! Strong sun won’t be kind to your garments unless using our sun shield, which is supplied with all wholesale orders and soon on our site. Also be careful around sharp objects!
How do you feel the world of latex is represented in the intimate apparel Industry?
I think it’s the same as the fashion industry, it keeps gaining in popularity. Celebrities and fashion houses continuously opt for the fabric in their collections. As a brand ourselves we have had an amazing amount of celebrity interest from the likes of, Ariana Grande, Zara Larson, Little Mix and Jordan Dunn. It’s really positive for us as a brand to see this continue into our own industry. We have a lot of customers who are new to latex and it is always encouraging to see how it changes their perception of the fabric and the confidence latex instills in them.