Portsmouth-based handmade line of clothing Polly ‘n’ Ogg is worth checking out for those who love unique vintage garments and DIY.

The brand not only offers clothing, but also accessories such as scrunchies, underwear, socks and knitted purses. I recently interviewed Olivia, daughter of Polly ‘n’ Ogg founder (Rachel McLeod) to find out more about the inspiration behind the brand and their production.

Portsmouth handmade fashion

How was Polly ‘n’ Ogg brought to life?

It was originally founded back in 1982 by Rachel and her brother Dan who were both students at Portsmouth College of Art. Rachel designed and made the clothes whilst Dan hand-painted and designed the textiles for her to use. They started off by making clothes for art students and the business took off for a few years. Then twenty years later, Rachel and I brought it back to life; it started off the same way it was founded – mother and daughter making and sourcing their own clothes to feed their crazy wardrobes! And then eventually it came to a point where there was not enough space in our wardrobes and so we decided to take our passion and spread it for others to appreciate.

Who and what are your inspirations?

We get our inspiration from everywhere we go and everything we do. We read many magazines, which cover high-end fashion to high street. We also engage and follow a lot of bloggers and get a lot of inspiration from street style. We’re always on the lookout for what people are wearing and experimenting with. We love bringing back new ideas to our studio to play with and share with our customers. 

Polly 'n' Ogg Interview

How do you come up with your designs?

We take from our inspirations and then try to put our own twist on things we love and incorporate practicality. We often try out a few different versions of new designs and try them out ourselves before putting them out to sell. We spend a lot of time in the studio playing around with new ideas; some come ‘just like that’ as Rachel says but some spend time half-done waiting for inspiration to hit to create the finished design.

Polly 'n' Ogg Interview

Are there specific jobs for each member of the team, such as designing and sewing?

No, we are a team so we all take equal responsibilities for both tasks. However, I have recently embarked on a new adventure to stage school in London, so now I take less responsibility for the sewing and making of the garments. I still try to help with sourcing of materials and share new inspirations from living in London.

How long does it take you to finish one piece of clothing?

It really varies depending on the garment and how much work is required to go into it. Generally, items can take between one afternoon and a couple of weeks to put together, we spend as long as we need on our items, as they have to be up to our standards.

Polly 'n' Ogg Interview

Where do get your garments from to mix and match?

We source from a number of different places – local jumble sales, charity shops, donations, buying fabric new, and yarn is bought new and we also use recycled. We try to be as sustainable as we can when sourcing materials and garments, so if we find something that Polly ‘n’ Ogg can give a new lease of life to we’ll do exactly that.

What is your favourite time period in fashion history?

It’s hard to select one period of time in fashion history! We appreciate many different parts of a number of eras. For example; Micro Mini’s from the 60’s, Puffball of the 80’s, Detailed Blouses from the early 1900’s and punk inspiration from the 70’s.

Polly 'n' Ogg Interview

Have you got a favourite vintage shop?

We don’t, we prefer to source our vintage/retro clothing from charity shops and charitable events. This way we can wear clothes we love, share their history and also give to good causes at the same time.

You can find the Polly ‘n’ Ogg wardrobe at the Community Fusion Made with Hartt charity shop located on:

80 Elm Grove, Southsea, PO5 1LN


And shop online at www.pollynogg.co.uk

Words by Montserrat Fernandez, photos by Olivia McLeod