Peter Alexander – Australian Fashion Brand

Peter Alexander – Sleepwear, Accessories and Gifts

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‘King of Pyjamas’ – Introduction to the Peter Alexander Fashion Label

Melbourne-born Peter Alexander was never the studious type, but those at high school who voted him the ‘least likely to succeed’, couldn’t have been more wrong. Soon after leaving high school, Peter began his career in fashion with a marketing position at Australian label, Sportsgirl.

Peter left Sportsgirl in 1985 looking for a new challenge – after an inspiring trip to Hong Kong he came back with samples of fabric and a big idea. Peter had already noticed a gap in the Australian market for comfortable, yet stylish nightwear, after hearing his female friends complain that they couldn’t seem to find pyjamas that weren’t over the top lace or dowdy flannel. This led to the foundation of the ‘Peter Alexander’ nightwear label in 1987 from the humble surroundings of his mother’s dining room table.

It wasn’t the smoothest start – without any practical design skills Peter had to enlist the help of his friends and family to cut patterns and sew to see his concept come to life. Despite his complete lack of experience Peter’s pyjamas for women were soon picked up in major department stores, including Myer and David Jones, throughout Australia. The first Peter Alexander standalone boutique opened in 2004 in Melbourne and the rest, as they say is history.

Peter Alexander and Penelope

Fashion Designer Peter Alexander with his beloved dog Penelope, who sadly passed away in 2005.

It wasn’t the smoothest start – without any practical design skills Peter had to enlist the help of his friends and family to cut patterns and sew to see his concept come to life. Despite his complete lack of experience Peter’s pyjamas for women were soon picked up in major department stores, including Myer and David Jones, throughout Australia. The first Peter Alexander standalone boutique opened in 2004 in Melbourne and the rest, as they say is history.

From a purely catalogue-based women’s pyjama brand, Peter Alexander has expanded its product line to include both men’s and women’s nightwear and underwear, loungewear, homewear, accessories, giftware and children’s pyjamas and accessories. As of 2012, the Peter Alexander collections were available through over 30 standalone stores throughout Australia and 10 stores in New Zealand, as well as being available through some of the world’s finest boutiques.

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Peter Alexander Fashion Label: A Timeline Snapshot

  • 1981: Peter Alexander starts his career in fashion, working in marketing for the Australian brand, Sportsgirl.
  • 1987: Peter Alexander starts designing pyjamas from the comfort of his mother’s dining table.
  •  1988: Just a year after his foray into the world of pyjamas, Peter’s PJs are sold in every major department store throughout Australia.
  • 1990: The Peter Alexander brand goes global with the introduction of an international mail order service.
  • 1992: Peter Alexander is honoured with the Australian Designer of the Year Award.
  • 1996: The Peter Alexander brand is picked up by buyers in America for the first time.
  • 1997: The brand’s special relationship with animals begins when Peter Alexander’s beloved pooch Penelope arrives on the scene and becomes the brand mascot.
  • 2000: The Peter Alexander brand is acquired by the Australian retail juggernaut, The Just Group, which also owns the likes of Just Jeans, Jay Jays, Portmans and Dotti. Peter remains at the helm of the brand as the Head of Design and Head of Marketing.
  • 2002: Peter Alexander collaborates with Sheridan to design an exclusive range of bedding.
  • 2004: The first Peter Alexander standalone boutique opens in the Melbourne Central Shopping Centre, soon becoming a firm favourite with many a celebrity.
  • 2005: Sadly the brand’s beloved mascot, Penelope the dog, passes away.
  • 2006: The fill the hole that Penelope leaves, the Peter Alexander brand gets two new mascots in the form of dogs, Betty and Butch. Also this year, the Peter Alexander label is names as the Retail Chain of the Year by Ragtrader Magazine.
  • 2007: The Peter Alexander label celebrates 20 years in the fashion industry.
  • 2008: The brand launches in the US with the opening of the Peter Alexander flagship boutique in California’s Los Angeles on the Robertson Boulevard shopping district. This was soon followed by two further US standalone stores – unfortunately the US stores were closed in 2009 due to the financial crisis of the time.
  • 2009: Peter Alexander teams up with actress Katherine Heigl to design a range of nightwear to raise awareness and money for dog shelters.
  • 2010: The Peter Alexander brand launches stores in New Zealand.
  • 2011: The brand begins its partnership with the RSPCA to produce an annual calendar of male models wearing his underwear and posing with rescued dog. All proceeds of the calendar sales go directly to the RSPCA.

Peter Alexander RSPCA Calendar 2011

Images from the 2011 Peter Alexander Calendar for the RSPCA.

Peter Alexander’s Inspirations and Aesthetic

Peter gets his inspirations from a wide range of influences – it can be from different cultures, fashion magazines, a walk down the street, history books or old war papers. Whatever the inspiration, Peter Alexander’s sleepwear always has a sense of humour with a big chunk of fun and bright colour pops. The ‘King of Pyjamas’ has won himself many a celebrity fan with his quirky nightwear, including Kylie Minogue, Lady Gaga, Nicolette Sheridan, Paris and Nicky Hilton, Naomi Watts, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Pink, Mandy Moore, Toni Colette and Salma Hayek.

Future of the Peter Alexander Fashion Label

Peter Alexander is an Australian institution – 25 years since the foundation of his nightwear label it is safe to say that Peter has conquered the domestic and international markets over 100 styles available in more than 150 prints. In the future of the Peter Alexander fashion label, expect to see further expansion, both domestically and internationally.

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Visit the official Peter Alexander website, here.