Perry Ellis

Influence on Fashion

Perry Edwin Ellis

Birth Date: March 3, 1940

Death Date: May 30, 1986

Born in: Portsmouth, Virginia

Began fashion career in New York

Fashion designer Perry Ellis launched a new wave of fashion that was defined by his signature baggy look. His clothes were lauded as both classic and adventurous.


Background: Ellis graduated from NYU. In 1963 he took a job as a sportswear buyer for a department store.Ellis's fashion instincts made a name for himself and in 1967 the store promoted him to be a merchandiser and returned him to New York City.


Ellis launched his own line of clothes for the shop in 1974.


His clothes were eclectic, often oversize, with a touch of whimsy that reflected the soft, gentle personality of their creator.


By 1982, Perry Ellis employed some 75 people and became international. A few years later, the newly renamed Perry Ellis International had sales in the hundreds of millions of dollars.


Though his success was beginning to rise, his health was falling. Ellis had contracted AIDS. Ellis appeared briefly at a fashion show in New York to preview his latest line. Too weak to walk, Ellis stayed in the doorway of the showroom. Several hours later, he collapsed and was rushed to the hospital, eventually slipping into a coma.


He passed away on May 30, 1986.