Photo by Jahee Hwang
I have never actually met Perth-born Brooke Persich – our connection has solely been an internet-based, business relationship that began a little over a year ago. I’ve tracked her evolution as a designer online over that time, and what a meteoric rise to success it’s been. This ethereal beauty has talent in spades and people are starting to take notice, the old cliché ‘a hidden gem’ actually applies here. Let me introduce you.
You seem to be living the dream of any creative, back and forth between New York and Australia. Where are you currently residing?
Before New York I was in London. I absolutely love London but really feel like my work is in New York. I love to travel but now I feel an urge to settle down a bit to put a deeper focus onto my label. I am currently in Australia and really enjoying my time here with family, I am also working tirelessly on the new collection. I go back to New York in a few weeks to set studio. I am really eager to get started, summer is beautiful in New York.
You began your label under the name of Youth. What was the reason for the rebranding to Brooke Persich and can you can tell us a bit about your journey as a designer so far?
I started it as YouTH because I wanted it to be a design house not exactly under me as a designer, my initial plans were to set it up and then take on a number of designers under the YouTH Umbrella.
Changing it to Brooke Persich was just a move for my business. I knew my label would be a long-term thing and I needed to change it to the designer’s name to give it longevity in the industry.
I had a problem with putting my name to things, I always like to be the hands working in the background or behind the scenes, pulling the strings to make it all happen, not exactly right in the spotlight.
Of course I was slightly uneasy about it, a lot of people didn’t know I did YouTH or who the person behind YouTH was, I quite enjoyed that.
However I am happy with where the label is today and where it’s going. It’s constantly evolving and I don’t know where it’s going to take me next, I try to go with it. In one and a half years I can’t even fathom the life it’s taken on.
You started your career as a journalist, was the creative call too strong to ignore?
I studied journalism at university and worked for various publications in editorial but I just felt uninspired. It wasn’t really hitting the spot for me and I knew I had to be doing something else.
The dreamy statement pieces you create seem to come from a dark yet beautiful place. What inspires your collections and your daily existence?
Really anything that puts me in a ‘good space‘ will inspire me. I always feel inspired by art, folklore, mythology and fairy-tale illustrations. Antique costume and jewellery is another. Ancient cultures, love, music and film moves me.
I find the only real solution to getting inspired is to look inwards rather than outwards. Everything we see is a manifestation of other people’s source and ideas. It’s a great reference point, but you have to find your own source.
I meditate a lot, it’s essential for creativity and ideas – staying in that quiet space and going inwards.
The styling for look books is reintroducing extravagance and that mythical quality back into fashion, such a stark contrast but welcome aesthetic after so much of the clinical white we’ve seen in the past few years. Do you play a big part in this process?
I do everything the label involves, and it’s campaigns from start to finish. I am a complete control freak, anyone who has acted as studio or campaign assistant for a look book will vouch for that!
For campaigns I will usually conceptualise a feel and then start mood boarding and pulling together the visuals. From here I’ll recruit creative professionals who have the same aesthetic and taste as I do so they can contribute to the vision.
Every photographer, designer, artist or creative I work with on the campaigns are on the same page as me; we want to do something extravagant. That’s exciting and that’s what gets us passionate about what we do. The shooting days are always such positive, inspiring environments.
With influences and inspirations I tend to look towards art, mythology and illustration and as far away from contemporary fashion as possible, just because I try not to be too influenced by what I see. I absolutely love the minimalist style around at the moment and my collections work well with that aesthetic but the look books are an opportunity to create something cinematic and dreamlike.
From the birth of a concept to designing, creating, filling orders, and meeting with stockists – it must be intense. Do you have a team of staff in New York supporting you?
No, I do everything myself, in the past I have taken on interns and am currently setting up more positions in NYC and a few in Australia. This year I will be taking on a few agents to represent and distribute my label internationally. The second half of this year will be dedicated to setting up our office space and getting some more people involved in the label.
Photo by Dana Decoursey
Brooke Persich is now stocked at Harvey Nichols, that’s a major achievement. Do you feel the label has changed directions and clientele because of this?
Thank you. The buyers at Harvey Nichols are very clued on and know their clientele well, they have a brilliant eye for contemporary designers. I am so proud to be with such an incredible company. I feel that, although the label grew very quickly, because of the interest it’s received but it’s going exactly where I planned it to be. I didn’t expect it to happen so soon but I am definitely not complaining.
You can count Rita Ora and Florence Welch among your celebrity clientele, what does it feel like having recognition on this scale in such a short time?
It’s incredible. I have seen Rita in her skull ring everywhere. It’s mind blowing to think that these are some of the biggest names in the industry right now, they have access to any accessory they want and they wanted to wear mine. Kimbra starting wearing my first collection barely three weeks into my label. I’m so proud that such talented, respected artists wear my label.
Did you meet either Rita or Florence?
I haven’t no, I haven’t been in the same country as them when I’ve organised their pieces. I will definitely drop in and see their stylists next time I am in London.
Your label is going from strength to strength, can you give any advice to other young creatives trying to break into the industry?
1. Learn to be miserable, whole-heartedly following your dream is one of the hardest, most stressful and uncomfortable things you’ll ever do, you have to run on little to no sleep, a ton of stress and plenty of defeats before a win. Learn to love these parts as much as the successes.
2. Get your priorities right. What you do is only going to work if you want it bad enough. Those that don’t will quit or be easily distracted. You have to want your dream more than you want to do anything else. That includes partying on the weekend, that includes investing energy into chasing lovers and mindless tv/internet/life watching.
3. Coffee will pull you through.
4. Use coloured post-its, When you have 9 different coloured post-its around your laptop screen screaming at you in neon you’re not going to sit on Facebook.
5. Don’t watch TV, it’s a waste of fucking time and will kill your brain and all creativity. Fill your time with hobbies or leisure activities that will continue to stimulate you.
6. Don’t care about what people think. Care what you think. This one is extremely important.
7. Have reputable role models, look at all the successful, influential people in the industry who are doing what you are doing, learn everything about them as a person and as a professional. Watch how they run their companies, how they look after their brands (both professional and personal). Examine what it takes to get to where they are. Write these in dot points on one of those coloured post-its and follow suit.
Emma Gaffy is one of top-notch figureheads of No Name Style and spends her time making sure people look pretty, shoots go fine and words come out correctly. You can read her other articles here.