Polite Worldwide, a gender-neutral fashion brand based in Los Angeles, is renowned for its imaginative and luxurious products. However, what truly sets the brand apart is its unwavering commitment to producing designs with utmost authenticity and a strong focus on environmentally sustainable practices. We spoke to the Polite team about their beginnings, passion for impact, and the future of the brand.
What is the founding story of Polite?
Polite Worldwide was founded by Christian Azzinaro and Tavia Azzinaro. It was officially born in January 2020, just before Covid. We were inspired to build out the idea of the "mood" of Polite that would combine our passion for the natural world, showing respect and consideration to it, our connection to energy, and bringing positivity through our work and building upon the attributes of community, connection, and collaboration. Our products are all intentionally made to inspire creativity, unify through messaging, and capture a feeling that uplifts each wearer.
Based in Los Angeles, Polite Worldwide develops and brings luxury products that are made with complete integrity and environmentally friendly processes to life. We carry a unique outlook guided by integrity. This process is carried out in our design, sourcing, and production. We believe in the preservation of respect for all things and well-mannered behavior.
We bring a genuine approach to making all of our products with the drive to expand our socially responsible business.
In harmony with yesterday's ideas, today's creations, and the opportunity to bring this curation into the future, Polite Worldwide has selected materials that innovate on traditional textiles, including the use of hemp, grape leather, recycled gold, artisanal and conscious production.
What gaps did you guys see in the jewelry realm that you wanted to fill with Polite?
We saw an opportunity to create jewelry that was not gender specific and that men had not had traditionally "feminine" pieces such as pearls offered. We saw the opportunity to have fun with timeless classics but bring a modern outlook to them, making pieces that would withstand the test of time, made ethically with quality and integrity at the foundation of Polite Worldwide.
What challenges does one face when combining luxury jewelry with sustainability?
Transparency in the supply chain is a challenge, and we push boundaries by being very conscious of how we source materials, who we work with, how we manage our production, and the selections we make to create our products. There are always alternatives in a growing business that might help create more ways to expand, but for us, it's crucial that we maintain values that are balanced and ethical in our growth. This is essential to our approach. We believe it's a luxury to be selective, work with artisans, maintain value relationships, and offer products that continue to improve over time.
Can you talk about your passion for impact?
We are very passionate about impact. We want not just to have another brand in the world but have one that makes people feel good, and that does more to bring support to our planet with our work. We are inspired to expand our community with like-minded people who share our values and who have the spirit of generosity and consideration in mind. We are excited to work on projects connecting people, companies, and organizations that share these goals. We believe we have to contribute to not just being on earth to have a business but to do work that has the potential to really connect to people, preserve our natural resources and the act of mindfulness.
Could you talk about your transition into clothing and other accessories? Was it seamless?
Clothing has always been something Christian had been designing with other projects. He intended to introduce clothing with Polite Worldwide as a part of the brand's natural progression. He is really connected to the pieces and puts a lot of hand work into the pieces; this is a rare approach from what most companies do because most products are mass-produced or heavily factory produced without this level of detail. To have the creative director/artist of the brand contribute to the creation process of the pieces is a unique position for Polite Worldwide. This is important for Christians to build this originality into the pieces. For example, when Christian airbrushes a t-shirt, he creates an original piece of art. These may be in a very limited edition group, with each study being released for a period of time. These items are not duplicated. The accessories are a fun way for us to create pieces that round our categories that we have a vision for, pieces that we can integrate alternative materials to, and build function and purpose around. This was our approach for our sustainable eyewear, allowing us to bring eco materials to the eyewear category. We are working on expanding our luxury accessory offering over the next year, which will include collectible items intentionally crafted.
If you had to pick three words to describe the Polite brand, what would they be?
If I had to pick three words to describe the Polite Worldwide brand,
they would be:
Sophisticated: Polite Worldwide exudes an air of sophistication in its brand image and products. From the elegant design aesthetics to the attention to detail, the brand embodies refinement and a sense of class.
Inclusive: The Polite Worldwide brand promotes inclusivity and embraces diversity. It creates a welcoming environment that celebrates individuality and brings people from different backgrounds together.
Contemporary: Polite Worldwide represents a modern and current style. It keeps up with the latest trends while maintaining a unique and distinctive identity. The brand appeals to individuals who appreciate a contemporary and forward-thinking approach to fashion and lifestyle.
How do you want people to feel when they wear Polite?
We want people to feel more grounded, present, and good in general. It feels good to be kind, to be considerate, and respectful of all values of what it means to be Polite.
How do you guys mentally deal with copycats and dupes in the industry?
This is a challenge! There have been several "dupes" since we started... with small brands, some of the world's largest luxury brands, and some in between. A lot of remixed pearls, for example, from companies who will attempt to knock off our design at a lower price without the same quality or mood that Polite Worldwide carries. It can honestly be frustrating because we carry such a strong spirit of welcoming collaboration, so we would rather have people reach out to work with us when inspired by our work rather than intentionally copying. However, it's nice to know our work is an inspiration, so much so that others want to copy it.
Is there anything else that you would like to share?
We are excited about new projects coming up that will allow us to be more direct with our audience and grow our community. It's essential for us to be a source for creatives to feel empowered. We love providing mentorship and resources that help open doors for others. Stay connected, reach out, and message us to share your ideas, brands, and projects.