If ICMS Fashion students thought they’d get an easy answer from Australian icon Alex Perry to the ‘secret’ to success in the competitive fashion industry, they may have been disappointed.
Instead, what they got from the entertaining and insightful on-campus Masterclass is what Alex Perry calls “a dose of reality”.
Spoiler alert… the ‘secret’ has nothing to do with what you look like, where you come from, or who you know.
His advice: “Get into a company and prove yourself. You may have to be entry level for about three years. Show your work ethic. Once you are in, get attention for all the right reasons.”
Alex Perry admitted that he can’t bear hearing young people complain ‘it’s just not for me’, when asked to do entry level work. “That’s not acceptable. Do the work. Start at entry level and stick it out. Prove you have resilience.”
The son of a Greek migrant, Alex Perry understands the value of hard work. He told the Masterclass students about how his father arrived in Australia – not being able to speak English and having no support networks to get himself started with his new life. Mr Perry admires his father’s work ethic and said that his dad is still his greatest role model.
Alex Perry wants young people to understand that it doesn’t matter if you have no connections in the fashion industry; it doesn’t matter where you come from. His ‘secret’ to success: “Be the person who offers solutions, be proactive and work hard”.
Third year Fashion and Global Brand Management student, Ava Negri, admitted it wasn’t what she was expecting to hear but Mr Perry’s advice was inspirational. “I realised there are no tips and tricks. Success is more about hard work. I’m relieved, actually, because I believe I am a hard worker. I feel motivated to do what it takes.”
The on-campus Masterclass with Alex Perry, an icon of Australian fashion, was brought to students and alumni exclusively by the ICMS Fashion and Global Brand Management faculty. It will be the first of many such masterclasses, connecting industry greats with the next generation of business leaders.
“This Masterclass was a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn from one of the greats of the industry. I found Alex Perry’s story so interesting,” said Bachelor of Business (Fashion and Global Brand Management) first year student, Ben Hancock.
Bachelor of Business student, Alexandra Hely agrees. “He’s so energetic and I found him to be really relatable. He doesn’t hold back; he speaks his mind and I appreciate that.”
Another key takeaway from the Masterclass was Alex Perry’s advice on listening to critics: “Listen to criticism from people you respect. Ignore it if it comes from people you don’t.” This advice echoes the famous ‘daring greatly’ speech from former US president Theodore Roosevelt, speaking to students at the Sorbonne, France, in 1910*.
ICMS Program Manager Nicole Venter collaborated with Fashion Mentor, Melissa Hoyer, to host the Alex Perry Masterclass.
“I feel incredibly privileged to share the learning and mentorship journey with Alex Perry and Melissa Hoyer,” she said. “It was a masterclass experience I know our students will treasure for years to come. Giving students the opportunity to immerse themselves in raw and unfiltered industry experiences is at the heart of our commitment to career focused learning at ICMS.”
“So, when you have masters of industry like Alex and Melissa sharing their untold stories, struggles and triumphs, it prepares our future leaders with a blueprint of what theory looks like in action and what it takes to be truly successful.”
Alex Perry is one of Australia’s most successful fashion designers and media personalities. From the red carpet, to high profile weddings, he is the go-to designer for glamour and luxury.
He graduated from the prestigious East Sydney Fashion Design Studio in 1984, and then began his career in the modelling industry working as an agent representing Australian models for international modelling agencies. Throughout his more than 20-year career Alex Perry has consistently appeared on the cover and within the pages of Vogue, InStyle, Marie Claire, Harpers Bazaar, Madison & Grazia Australia.
Alex has dressed personalities Kim Kardashian, Gigi Hadid, Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, and many others. His designs have been featured on world renowned publications, gracing the front covers of Vogue, Marie Claire and InStyle. Alex judged Australia’s Next Top Model for 10 seasons, made appearances on Asia’s Next Top Model and hosted The Real Housewives of Melbourne. He also collaborated on Celebrity MasterChef Australia and Project Runway Australia, and the Alex Perry label is continually growing, having expanded to 30 new countries.
*“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
‘Citizenship in a Republic’, a speech given by Theodore Roosevelt, former President of the United States, at the Sorbonne in Paris, France, on April 23, 1910.