Born in Portsmouth, Virginia to a middle-class family, Perry Edwin Ellis is one of the most successful fashion designers in today’s modern age. He was born on March 3, 1940 and was raised comfortably by his family with the support of their own fuel company. He studied in Williamsburg, Virginia taking up a degree in Business Administration, which he later used in managing his own fashion business.
Perry Ellis’ interest for fashion first came out while he was running his own department store retailing in Virginia. He established that firm to gain experience in the world of fashion simply as a merchandiser and buyer.
In his search for the ultimate experience, he joined the sportswear company owned by John Meyer in New York. The Vera Companies approached him in the 1970s for one purpose – to make designs for the Vera itself. It was only in 1976 when Perry Ellis decided to create his own line of women’s sportswear he called the Portfolio.
Since the introduction of the Portfolio, critics and consumers of fashion products praised Perry Ellis as one of the most outstanding designers of sportswear. Particularly the women love him for one reason – Ellis creates his own designs, each boasting a clean cut casual style. He established his own fashion house with the help of The Vera Companies, and named it Perry Ellis International. His showroom was first opened on Seventh Avenue in New York City.
Months after the release of Ellis’ casual styled sportswear, he came up with a menswear collection which was introduced successfully in the world market. Critics considered this product line as modern classic in appearance and style. This collection was followed by other successful launches; now featuring shoes, furs, accessories, and fragrances.
Perry Ellis International continued to expand throughout the 1980s. A number of labels were then released, including the Perry Ellis Collection and the Perry Ellis Portfolio. In 1984, the company formed a cooperation with Levi Strauss. The Portfolio line was revised one year after, and in 1986 the company saw a rise of about $250 million in their product revenues.
The House of Perry Ellis was transferred to a new management headed by Robert L. McDonald, Ellis’ close friend, in 1986 after Perry’s unexpected death. Marc Jacobs then took the role of Perry Ellis as a fashion designer for the company, who at that time was a fresh graduate. Jacobs started his own labels just in 1993, and it was him who became the head of the House of Louis Vuitton in Paris.
Perry Ellis International has undergone several other changes in the company management. Manhattan Industries was traded to a licensee of Perry Ellis, the Salant. It was from them where a Miami based textile company acquired the Ellis House in 1999. The corporation also acquired several other companies, including the Original Penguin and the Ping collection of the golf brand, both acquired early in the year 2003.
Today, the House of Perry Ellis is continually producing all the fashion products it is known for. Massive expansions are expected to occur with more and more consumers becoming interested to Perry Ellis’ great collections.