Peter Alexander chats about his new Disney Collection (in stores now!), Peter Pan complex, and the business of fashion.
So your new collection inspired by Disney. Can you tell us about that?
Disney is where dreams come true and when you dream you are normally in pyjamas so the collaboration seemed perfect. It is where everything is perfect and happy.
What’s your favourite Disney film and why?
I love Peter Pan as I have a Peter Pan complex – I never want to grow up. I dress the same at 50 as I did at 20, it is quite sad. Also he could fly and I always have flying dreams.
Had you ever been to Disneyland before you went over to make your clothing?
I had been to Disneyland once before as a teenager. I just remember that I loved the Haunted House and I hated the Magic Mountain as I got sick!
It’s not hard to see the link between Disney's love of animals in his films, and your love of animals within your clothes – can you tell us about your two dogs Elizabeth and Butch?
They are like Lady and the Tramp. Elizabeth is such a pure pred lady and Butch is from the RSPCA and is a totally pound hound. They do love each other and are very sweet together.
Your original dog Penelope became the face of Peter Alexander - what inspired that?
My selfish obsession. Penny was my first dog and I totally became obsessed with her and her with me. She never left my side and came to work with me everyday. I didn’t think my face was pretty enough to be the brand ambassador but she was perfect or should I saw pawfect.
You’re a strong supporter of the RSPCA – can you tell us a little about your work with them.
My job with them is two fold. One is to raise money and I do that with my calendars and selling other products and the other is to help them with media appearances as a spokesperson. It is one of the high lights of my career.
Yourself and Katherine Heigl actually designed PJs together to raise money for dog shelters - what was it like to work with her?
She is so amazing, really generous with her money and her time. She also has about 7 rescue dogs. It was a great experience to see the Hollywood thing.
It’s been twenty-five years now your brand has been going - why do you think your still a success after all this time?
Easy, I still love what I do!
When you first started out you were working from your mums house. Did you ever imagine you would be as successful as you are?
Never ever. I still can’t believe it. The highlight was being a feature story on Sixty Minutes, that was when I thought I had made it.
Your mum must get free pyjamas all the time now right?
Yes she likes to check the fit for larger women as she gives me very honest feedback on comfort and fabric for a size 18.
Do you have any tips to inspiring fashion designers wanting to start their own label?
Fashion is a business, if you don’t understand business or want to understand it then create fashion as a hobby. If you want to really start a brand and work in fashion then figure out your strengths and get help with your weaknesses. Ask yourself what is unique about your line and always know fashion has an open door always looking for new ideas.
Life is much shorter than I imagined it to be. Abraham Cahan
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