Poppy Voon makes clothing for every woman

The Wellington designer has sustainability at the heart of her made-to-order brand

Summer wardrobe?

Poppy Voon is popping up in the capital this summer. Visit her temporary store at level one, 151 Cuba Street from Wednesday-Saturday 10am-5pm.

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The ethos behind Poppy Voon's eponymous clothing label is simple: everything is built to last. The designer's unfussy and classic womenswear pieces are made from sustainable, quality fabrics in Wellington. They stand the test of both time and trends.

Poppy's steadfast loyalty to her brand's core values has been her guiding light. She designs clothing that women both need and want, and focuses on made-to-order pieces alongside a small seasonal run. This means she is able to leave a small environmental impact – not something the often wasteful fashion industry is known for.

From socials to a studio

What started as a hobby has turned into a business for Poppy. After making dresses for herself, overwhelming feedback on social media encouraged her to start a made-to-order clothing business for friends, family, and social followers. This quickly ballooned into more than just a side-hustle, and orders came flooding in for Poppy's creations.

Sewing for customers rather than just her own wardrobe proved challenging for Poppy. "To be honest, making the first few myself was extremely overwhelming and being a perfectionist, this wasn't ideal".

Poppy brought on a local seamstress to sew her pieces, so she could focus on building the business and designing collections.

After hosting a string of successful pop-up shops, demand for Poppy's designs continued to grow. She opened a studio and retail space in central Wellington in 2022. Seeing her customers in person rather than just online allowed her to gain valuable feedback on her pieces. It also opened up the opportunity to measure up for a bespoke order if the customer couldn't find anything off the rack.

But, after six months in the studio, Poppy decided to pivot back to pop-ups. While her Wellington women loved visiting her in-store, her customer base was mostly online and came from all around the country. Now that she's not tied to one location, she plans to offer pop-up stores around New Zealand.

The design process

Observations of Wellington locals, feedback from friends, and gaps in her own wardrobe inform what Poppy will make next – always from a place of what people need as well as want. While she creates seasonal collections, a distinct Poppy Voon flavour carries through each garment. She has a hands-on approach to the design process. From initial rough sketches through to pattern creation, wear-tests, and tweaks, to what you finally see on the rack, Poppy has a hand in it all.

"I never design fussy, high-maintenance clothing with straps that fall off your shoulders or big bows that you're constantly having to adjust, everything is designed with the wearer in mind," says Poppy.

Customers often buy pieces for an occasion and will find they become an everyday staple – a welcome change for those looking for a more sustainable approach to shopping.

I think what makes our clothes appeal to so many different people is the way they make you feel

Poppy Voon

Sustainability at heart

Treading lightly is top of mind in all of Poppy's designs, and she is working toward a sustainable business model. Her garments are mostly made from linen, one of the most durable fabrics, to ensure longevity. She also works with GOTS-certified organic cotton – the worldwide leading standard for organic fibres – and only recycled synthetics. Economical cutting is used to minimise wastage, and all scraps are kept to be repurposed in other garments or accessories, or donated.

While Poppy's processes are eco-conscious, it's the timeless, classic styles and high quality that are a true testament to the brand's sustainable heart. The most popular dress style has stayed the same since the brand's conception, proving Coco Chanel's age-old adage: fashion comes and goes, but style is forever.

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