Alex Perry On How To Make It In The Fashion Industry

Kate Moffatt
marie claire
Alex Perry.

Alex Perry.

You've been in the business a long time. What do you think is the key to your longevity?
I'm tenacious. I don't say die. I look at my work and criticise it before anyone else does, and at the end of the day, I'm happy with it. I've always been like that. I know who my girl is.

I did a soft relaunch a couple of years ago and my brand is more contemporary now. I was bored, so I thought my consumer must be too. I'm not afraid to mix things up. Plus, I had this really young fan base from Australia's Next Top Model. They wanted to buy into my brand too, but the reality was, I didn't have much to offer them. So I re-skewed it and it's been amazing. It's opened a whole new world. I'm selling in to so many countries now, and we're just starting to get into the US. And that's based on the clothes - no-one knows who I am over there, so I feel like I've been able to do that on my own merit.

What advice do you have for designers just starting out?
It's really hard. It's a hard time to start because the industry is different. You've just got to work hard. You will never have a 9-5 life. You will work 24 hours; it doesn't stop. When you get beaten down, you have to find it within yourself to pick yourself back up again and keep on going.

Alex Perry designs on the Myer runway.

Models including Jennifer Hawkins on the Myer runway wearing Alex Perry.

Who have you been most excited to see wearing one of your designs?
I haven't been able to work with Jen (Hawkins) for a while, so that's been really fun. We've dressed a lot of girls over the last year including Sandra Bullock, Miley Cyrus and Heidi Klum. Every time it's a real buzz. Giuliana Rancic also wears a lot of my designs. She goes to so many events so she's always calling something in. She's got to moderate it though (laughs).

Who would you love to see wearing one of your designs?
Jennifer Lawrence! She's been calling in some stuff. It hasn't happened yet, but where there's smoke, there's fire. I just loved when she wore that Dior dress and she fell up the stairs. She was so graceful about it. I love that kind of girl.

What's been the biggest pinch-me moment of your career?
I've had a lot of them. They happen all the time. If a magazine shoots something beautiful it always get me. Take marie claire for instance - I had a cover with Megan Gale wearing one of my dresses, and I had another one with P!nk. They were real pinch-me moments. Especially since marie claire is a publication that I respect enormously - so being featured in an editorial like that or on a cover is like validation for what I do. It's kind of like getting a Golden Globe!

The other pinch-me moment that comes to mind was seeing Sandra Bullock wearing one of my dresses. It was a Sunday and I was sitting on the couch in my PJs and all of a sudden she appeared on Instagram. I was like 'whaaaat!' That was a total pinch-me moment.

You work with a lot of talented people including Napoleon Perdis. What's it been like collaborating with him over the years?
He's like a brother I lost at birth. He's such a bundle of energy. He has an enthusiasm that doesn't wane. He loves what he does and he believes 1 million per cent in it. He embodies what his philosophy is. And, like me, he couldn't care what anybody thinks. He owns what he does and you know what? If someone doesn't like it, he doesn't give a shit. I love that about him.

You got to work with Trya Banks recently on Australia's Next Top Model. What was that like?
Yeah, the big T! She's larger than life yet really chilled out. The girls were gobsmacked she was there, they were so excited to meet her.

I also loved working with Linda Evangelista, she had really great knowledge to impart to the girls, as did Jean Paul Gaultier. They told them things they would never been privy to otherwise.

We worked with a lot of great people this season. We needed an army to make up for Charlotte (Dawson). We needed to have great girls in there.

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