Introducing the Pippa Middleton-approved accessories label by best friends Suki Waterhouse and Poppy Jamie. Here, the duo talk sisterhood, style icons and starting their accessories brand on social media
Suki Waterhouse and Poppy Jamie first clapped eyes on each other across a dance floor in Hollywood. “Our bond kind of surprised us. It was a huge relief to find a soulmate in the jungle of LA,” begins Waterhouse. “Sometimes you meet people and things are just meant to be.”
Fast forward six years and the pair has gone from throwing shapes together to designing handbags. Their accessories label, Pop & Suki, turns one this month and is celebrating with its first pop-up store in the capital at Selfridges, stocking arm candy in the form of leather and velvet camera bags and totes in cognac nubuck or emerald, plum and midnight blue leather, each of which can be personalised with monograms, charms and accessories.
The label has attracted royals and red carpet regulars alike. Pippa Middleton stepped out last week wearing a leather messenger bag with an interchangeable strap, while Lena Dunham and Laura Bailey have also been snapped sporting their monogrammed numbers. The duo insists however that they get just as excited seeing a stranger in a restaurant carrying one of their designs as they do Lady Gaga on stage – “although the day I saw Pippa Middleton wearing one I did scream internally,” concedes Waterhouse.
Launching Pop & Suki in the capital (their home town) is not where they thought they would end up when they had their first eureka moment in an LA vintage shop. “We became inspired by this bag we found and began brainstorming how we could do it ourselves. The starting point was to design something that could match all scenarios in life for a woman on the go,” says Jamie. “You can play with the straps to change your day bag from cross-body to a clutch, belt-bag or even a backpack,” she explains.
If anyone could pull off a belt-bag, it’s Waterhouse, whose style is nothing short of chameleonic. “When I started modelling, I was allergic to heels or dresses, or anything that wasn’t really baggy,” she says. “Now I just enjoy fashion and love experimenting.” Her style icon is Anita Pallenberg, while Jamie is a fan of feminine dresses and Brigitte Bardot.
Their wardrobes might differ, but they both feel empowered when wearing labels that were started by female entrepreneurs (La Ligne and LemLem are favourites). Do they think it’s harder for women to succeed in the fashion industry?
“Times are changing,” says Jamie. “There’s still a tonne more to be done but look at Natalie Massenet, Stella McCartney and Hannah Weiland – what inspirations.” “It’s not harder; you just have to voice an opinion and not back down if it’s questioned,” adds Waterhouse.
Pop & Suki launched on Instagram, which the pair says helped them speak to their customers directly. But social media is not without its pitfalls, as Jamie well knows. This summer she launched mental wellbeing app Happy Not Perfect – designed with help from her mother, a psychotherapist, and neuroscientist at UCLA. Daily exercises aim to enhance relaxation and emotional resilience in the digital age.
“Our world has become more intense than ever, especially since we all got smartphones; the pressure to do more, be more, achieve more is exhausting, because more doesn’t necessarily make us feel better,” she says. Instead, she finds solace from social media by taking a yoga class five times a week, while Waterhouse uses an app called Freedom to block Instagram and Twitter for a few hours at a time.
But do they ever need downtime from each other? “It’s the absolute dream [running a business together]” Waterhouse insists. “We’re sort of chalk and cheese. Poppy is a great people person, she can persuade anyone to do anything.”
“And Suki is basically the barometer of cool,” Jamie interjects. And together, they are the #dreamteam.