WOMEN OF NOTE:
Emily Labowe | Founder of Poppy Undies.
All brown bangs and blue eyes, Emily Labowe is a vision not easily forgotten. Shrouded in an air of nostalgia from times past, the model, actor and accomplished embroider of underwear is best known not only for her Birkin-esque looks, but for her beloved line of intimates, Poppy Undies. Beginning in her bedroom, Emily founded Poppy Undies in 2016, a range of paired-back white underwear hand-stitched with witty sayings and sweet depictions of fruit salad, chillies and cowboy hats in brightly coloured thread. Made and manufactured in Los Angeles from recycled deadstock cotton, the self-proclaimed creature of comfort has reframed our perception of ‘sexy’ to include her relaxed and environmentally conscious approach to design — something we all ought to embrace. Dressed in Deiji one Thursday afternoon, here Emily shares answers to our questions from her home in Los Angeles.
Location: Los Angeles
Date: 23/7/20 Time: 5:04pm
Where are you from and where are you now?
I am born, raised, and live in Los Angeles.
Can you tell us a little about your home, what is the view like?
I live in a small studio apartment with views of the Hollywood sign and the hills.
Are you a morning or evening person?
In 2016 you launched your line of hand-embroidered intimates, Poppy Undies, what motivated you to found an underwear label?My mom taught me how to embroider a few years back on a matzah cover and I fell in love with the craft, and the process of creating something by hand. A year or so later, I started embroidering pieces on intimates, which I felt was unique and personal.
You’re also a model and actor, how is your time divided between projects?
It can be tough to time manage with multiple projects all at once. Sometimes you get lucky, and they are timely spaced out so you can put the right amount of energy into each. More often than not, “when it rains it pours” as the saying goes...it becomes a juggling act to get things done!
Poppy Undies are instantly recognisable: white cotton panties in a high-waisted French-inspired cut, hand embroidered with images of fruit, vegetables and cacti. What led you to this signature everyday design?
I am innately a creature of comfort, but I also like feeling sexy in my underwear. I set out to design my perfect pair of underwear that encompasses both of things.
There’s a lot of underwear out there that endorses traditional ideals of beauty and sexuality, which is more uncomfortable to wear than it is pleasurable. What does pleasure look like to you?
Pleasure is to have courage, confidence, self-love, joy, empathy, and kindness towards others. When you give love, you receive it back!
What does the notion of sensuality mean to you?
The smell of hinoki, smoked wood, like cedar and incense. Flow, and losing yourself in the moment.
When do you feel most yourself?
In the comfort of my home probably eating something delicious with cheese and doing something creative- writing, reading, painting, embroidery, gardening.
Who and what inspires you the most?
My mom and Brene Brown.
How have you been spending your time at home these past few months?
There was definitely an adjustment period to this “new normal”, but I figured out a new routine. I am grateful that my family lives close by, so I have been spending a lot of quality time with them, and working on various projects I didn’t have the time for before.
Is there a particular part of your home that you love most? If so, why?
I spend most of my time sitting outside on my porch with my veggie and flower plants.
Are there any recipes that you find yourself returning to? If so, can you please share one with us?
Jam recipe from my friend Kelsey
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
2 cup fruit of your choice (raspberries, apricots, strawberries)
2 tbsp. Lemon juice
- Bring all ingredients to a high boil
- Stir continuously for 15 min or so until the consistency is thick (if you’re not sure you can always use the frozen spoon test by placing a spoonful of jam into the freezer. It should be solid in about 3 minutes.
- Sterilize your glass jars beforehand or during the process
- Fill jars with jam and let cool
Enjoy on toast, a crumpet with tea, on Greek yogurt, or pb&j!
What are you currently reading and listening to?
Currently reading Lady Chatterly’s Lover, currently listening to Frank Sinatra.
How do you stay grounded?
Staying in a routine, reading or listening to Brene Brown, repeating an internal monologue that “I am enough. I am worthy. I am doing the best I can.”
What do you do to unwind?
Taking a bath in the evenings with good Japanese bath salts.
If you could only use three sentences to describe your path in life so far, what would they say?
I am so grateful for all of the experiences, good and bad, that have led me to the person and place I am in now. Mistakes are not just part of the journey, but they are inevitable and sometimes should be encouraged- if only to learn and grow more. Learning to fall into the difficult.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
From a book called, The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse by Charlie Mackey: “We often wait for kindness...but being kind to yourself can start now”.
What do you dream of while you sleep?
I’ve had a recurring dream of snakes in water over the years...
Interviewed by Chloe Borich for Deiji Studio’s Field Notes