Designer Pera May. Image supplied.
Emerging designer Pera May launched her eponymous, contemporary brand in 2019 as a fresh fashion graduate and recently launched the PERA MAY online store. The ambitious designer has already shown on the runway at Vancouver Fashion Week 2019 and London Fashion Week 2019 as part of the Oxford Fashion Studio showcase. Pera’s vibrant label is proudly designed and made in New Zealand with longevity and circularity in mind. Each creative piece is carefully constructed and made to be loved and treasured for years to come.
We caught up with Pera to find out more about her brand, what inspires her and what you would never catch her wearing!
Tell us about your latest collection?
The current collection ‘one person of many faces’ is out now!
Available in store at 135 Parnell Road and as of two weeks ago launched online www.peramay.com!
This is an interim collection for PERA MAY experimenting with the early stages of developing our model, which is very exciting.
This body of work conveys ideals around identity, how we can be one person but we cannot be placed in one box. Something you can always expect from a conceptual PM collection is a cheeky push against what society normalises.
The want and need to challenge the status quo, “why can’t we just be who/what we want to be, without society’s judgements, expectations or influence? Why as humans do we feel the authority to comment on who/what others choose to be or the need to succumb to someone we are not?”
As a young emerging visionary this comes from a place of personal experience but also observing the incredible world that we inhabit and dreaming that one day maybe we could all just harmoniously ‘coexist’…
“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” – Jimi Hendrix.
This collection demonstrates distinctive PERA MAY flair, yet practically considered with the current climate in mind. Electric and bubbly fabrications, streamlined with adventurous yet delicate detailing, from the trims to the stitching finishes there is always more than meets the eye with each design. Lovingly handcrafted from start to finish featuring exclusive ‘embroidered faces’ silk and ‘bubble wrap’ textured cotton this collection is circularly and ethically considered. The most important thing to remember is that this vision is encompassing and advocating of timeless, trans-seasonal dressing. These styles aren’t inaccessible nor too formal, they’re beautifully considered garments created to empower the wearer and hopefully encourage/educate for the future of expressive, conscious, ethical and timeless dressing.
I strongly believe there is something in this collection for all, open yourself to something new, let the garments speak for themselves and above all have some FUN!
This collection is proudly 100% New Zealand made. It has been a blessing being able to produce the first PERA MAY collection locally. We have been able to work with some amazingly talented, knowledgeable and nurturing industry professionals who we couldn’t have gotten through it without.
Looks from PERA MAY’s current collection.
What made you become a designer?
Great question, sooooo many components led to me wanting to become a designer, every day that purpose expands.
Creativity surrounded me as a child and was heavily encouraged by my family. I spent most of my childhood in my Mother and Grandmother’s homewares store/café surrounded by divine products. My Grandma recalls me at three years old telling her that certain products didn’t colour match on the shelf. From a young age I felt an enormous urge to ‘leave my mark on this lifetime’ it just took me until around 17 to realise that fashion was where I wanted to channel that creativity. My purpose and vision is ever expanding. Currently my drive to be a designer comes from the desire to fix a system that’s broken.
What inspires you?
Literally everything and anything!
It could be a song, the skyline, the colours and shapes of the décor in my mums bathroom setting oddly, that dopamine feeling I get from being an absolute freaky, freak with my best friends, to a story that I believe needs to be told. I carry around a film camera and take in as much inspo as I can, sometimes I think WTH was I thinking when I look back at them, others are like yeahhh that’s groovy, I can vibe with that!
My senses tend to ignite in abstract ways, like a kaleidoscope I hear sounds that form shapes or colours, or I paint and that forms fabrics or silhouettes. When I drive, for some reason that’s when I get the most inspiration – I think it’s that stimulation of moving through life at speed that I start to build a moving concept in my mind. My inspiration is completely conceptually driven – I fully engross myself in the world I’m imagining to bring the idea to life.
Describe your personal style and how it influences your designs?
I design with fabrics and colours that intuitively excite me. I believe the way I design is a reflection of my personality and I create what I love, it comes from my mind. It’s bold, colourful, quirky, expressive, fun and loud!
Fact; the way we dress everyday reflects our mood or vice versa, we dress to how we’re feeling. I tend to design with that in mind and attempt to cater for a range of needs, lifestyles and physiques.
What is your all-time favourite purchase?
For an indecisive person these questions are challenging! I have many for different reasons, some because they’re nostalgic and come with a fabulous story, others because I saved up for so long to purchase from an independent designer that I could support and be proud of wearing.
But my latest would be a purchase that has many great stories attached to it. My best friend and I were walking down the street and came across this window with a bunch of different coloured leopard print bucket hats. We were instantly drawn to them but thought about it overnight (so responsible) then went back the next day to purchase. We have only had them for about two weeks, but in that time they have managed to be present during the most intriguing occurrences that we have experienced! They are our creative hats, our party hats and our crime fighting hats… Unsure yet if they are good or bad luck haha…
Looks from PERA MAY’s current collection.
What wardrobe item should everyone invest in?
Personally I couldn’t live without a good fitting and uniquely designed trouser!
I also believe everyone should invest in a garment at least once a year that just speaks to them, if it sparks that tingly, excitable feeling inside you (or does that just happen to me?) then that piece has to be yours, as you will forever treasure it!
Do you have a style rule you always obey?
I don’t usually wear more than three or four colours or prints together. I remember my Grandma saying that to me at a young age and it just always stuck with me. Balance is also something to be weary of, how you create lines and shapes to elongate or flatter your body. For example being shorter I don’t tend to wear oversized boxy pieces as it just consumes me.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
LFW, PFW and VFW 2019. Started off the career with a bang, typical of my pace. The experience that I was, beyond blessed to be exposed to at Paris Fashion Week with my previous employers, Taylor was invaluable. I was introduced at the start of my career to where I hope to take my career, it was truly magical.
I am so incredibly fortunate to have come this far and l owe a lot of where I am today to those who have believed in my journey from the start, no matter how bold my ideas have been they backed me. It has been an incredible highlight meeting the divine personalities who have mentored me from the start, they know who they are!
What can’t you live without?
Family and friends, nature, caffeine and lip balm!
Finish this sentence – You would never catch me wearing…
Socks and sandals, no disrespect to those who pull it off!