This piece was originally published by American Vogue in September 2016
When model Suki Waterhouse first met her now best friend, the television presenter Poppy Jamie, in a Los Angeles nightclub, the two engaged in a dance-off. It’s the kind of bonding exercise that only a seriously cool, yet slightly eccentric, pair of British girls would willingly partake in, but they had both just moved to town to explore the fashion and entertainment worlds, respectively, and it’s the sort of thing that you can get away with when nobody’s really watching you . . . yet.
A few years and more than a million Instagram followers later, we have this unconventional meeting to thank for Pop & Suki, the friends’ debut accessories line, launching in October. Their Fall 2016 offering comprises of two key bag shapes (a camera and a tote) affixed with their various sweeteners: “Best Friend” heart tags, clip-on leather tassels, and initial-bearing key chains. As Waterhouse and Jamie’s new candy-washed lookbook confirms, Pop & Suki is a hit of sugar on top of streamlined design for a cheeky-chic effect.
“Our obsession with pastel comes through, I think?” jokes Jamie of the line’s aesthetic. “The number of pastel images I have saved on my phone currently practically fills up my camera roll.” But there’s a pared-down aspect too. “It’s clean and minimal,” Waterhouse says. “We aimed to juxtapose functionality with femininity—we wanted elegant pieces that could withstand the wear and tear of busy lives.”
There are 17 of those pieces in total, but with personalization being a key focus for the designers, some come in as many as eight different incarnations. The jewelry is nearly all interchangeable: Rose quartz, onyx, blue lapiz, and amethyst pills are on offer, plus five other charm styles available on gold vermeil, 14-karat gold, or sterling silver chains.
The true standouts, though, are these It girls’ own It bags, manufactured in downtown L.A., but bound to be seen everywhere soon. They’ve already got one monogrammed and ready for their good friend Cara Delevingne—again, honing in on personalization with classic vibes. “We didn’t want to create just another It bag; we wanted to develop timeless pieces that could be applicable to anyone without looking cookie-cutter,” explains Jamie of their pick-and-mix design approach. She’s been carrying the sample of the pink camera style around all summer, while Waterhouse says her tote has been pulling double duty as a “soft pink pillow for car rides.”
For two friends who are accustomed to being in front of the camera, they’re both happy to take a turn behind the scenes, directing shoots, developing the line. Designing it, Waterhouse says, “gave us an excuse for our four-hour phone conversations. It’s work!”
And out of those talks clearly came a shared view on how to make fashion feel personal. “Personal style is self-expression,” says Waterhouse. “I have an aversion to looking too put together and I admire individuals who are trendless.”
“We were adamant that our range would be customizable so that everyone can stamp their own identity on their pieces,” Jamie agrees. And with prices starting at just $25, their fans are bound to buy into the fun.
Pop & Suki will be available from popandsuki.com starting in October.