DLTM met Naomi Burnett, owner of House of Polly, out and about in London’s hedonistic club world… or maybe it was at a festival, the memories are hazy. What we will say is that 1) she is a great person, a bundle of fun who we always have a good chinwag with when we see her and 2) her House of Polly designs are brilliant and always bring a bit of pizzazz to a situation (usually a fuzzy festival morning). It’s always interesting to speak to people about their endeavours and Don’t Lose The Magic is based on getting the inside track on the stories behind the creativity, so read on to find out more about House of Polly…
Tell me a little bit about your background and how you ended up starting House of Polly?
I feel like I’ve spent the last 32 years, basically my whole life, building up to the launch of my brand House of Polly. I didn’t know it back when I was a footwear buyer for a UK high street chain but everything I learnt along the way brought me to this point. A point where I can develop, love and grow into something that is me.
What inspired you to start work on your own thing?
I wanted to be able to express my own creativity without any restrictions and do something for myself .
Where does the name come from?
I was at Love Saves The Day (a festival in Bristol) one year when a friend of mine labelled me ‘gobby polly pocket’… too true and the name stuck.
What’s the ethos behind the items you make and produce?
I make what feels right at the time, the further I delve the more creative I get. I’m only just beginning! This is my first full year and I know I’ve got so much more to bring. Watch this space…
What lessons have you learned during your first full year?
I have learnt lots of lessons! Even after working in the fashion industry for my whole career it’s a totally different ball game setting something up on your own. I am very fortunate that the knowledge I took away with me from working for other companies has hugely benefitted me and my advice to others setting up is make sure you speak to other people who have experience, it’s essential.
How do you come up with ideas? Do people come to you with commissions and concepts, or are you responsible for the creative process from start to finish?
The majority of the time I just get creative and hope it sells. But if someone wants something custom-made and approaches me with an idea then I am also happy to work like this. They come to me with a concept and I build from that.
What’s the most challenging aspect of what you do?
Finding the time in between all the festivals to get s**t done!
Who or what inspires the clothes and accessories you make?
I’m inspired by everything around me but Jeremy Scott, Moschino yes please.
What is it about the names you’ve mentioned there that gets you excited?
What he does is just so different from anyone else, he is bold and I love that.
Do you make all your designs by hand? Or, where are they produced?
Everything is made with love by Polly.
How did you go about learning how to hand craft the items you make?
I picked up a lot throughout my education, I studied fashion/textiles and art at school and college then went on to study fashion and clothing at Leeds. With House of Polly it has just been a case of teaching myself what I need in order to build my skills and get my products looking as good as they can. I’m always learning and really enjoy it.
You’re quite involved in London’s club scene, can you tell us about your connection with music and how that influences your designs?
Music is the answer…. Then add a little bit of Polly and your night is complete.
How does music inspire you? Any particular nights or musicians who help to get your creative juices flowing?
Grace Jones is a true inspiration to me, not just in her fashion but her individuality and performances on stage. One of a kind.
Festival fashion is becoming big business and is also influencing the high street, what are your thoughts on the way things are progressing?
The high street is part of the fashion cycle…. It’s about challenging and creating new ideas. If they follow then I guess you need to up your game.
What are your plans for the future? Any goals you want to achieve?
My plans are simply to continue being happy building something I love with the people I love always around me.
Where can our readers get in touch with you and find your amazing creations?
Come and find me on instagram.com/houseofpolly.