Courtesy of perryellis.com

Perry Ellis was from Portsmouth, Virginia.

Welcome to Weird Facts of The 757 where we tell all the weird and cool things that have happened in the area. Tune in every Friday for a new weird fact about Hampton Roads!

I love fashion just as much as the next woman; I’m not a fashion guru, per se, but I know what I like and enjoy. I will say, my favorite kind of fashion is like the old ZZ Top song: “Every girl is crazy for a well-dressed man.” There are plenty of fashion designers to thank for keeping our men well-dressed. Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, and Tom Ford are just a few, and I promise I’m not forgetting Gucci and Versace. Let’s be real, though: I would much rather have a new puppy than a man in a Gucci t-shirt, but that might just be me. 

But there is one fashion designer, however, that deserves my thanks, having originated in Portsmouth, Virginia.

man looking pensively into the middle distance

Courtesy of famousfashiondesigners.org

“Who might that be?'” you ask. None other than Perry Ellis, the men’s fashion guru. 

Yes, ladies. We have Portsmouth to thank for our well-dressed men. Ellis was born and raised in the Churchland, a suburban section of P-town.

Mr. Ellis was born in the spring of 1940. He spent his youth earning a bachelor’s degree in business from the College of William and Mary. Then Ellis traveled to New York to get his master’s degree at New York University. He bounced down to Richmond to work for Miller and Rhoads, a department store that was popular at the time, then debuted his own line in 1978 – one that emphasized men’s sportswear. He created a signature look called “the Slouch.” 

Courtesy of syndicatedetails.com

The Slouch look consisted of men’s oxford shoes on women, oversized sweaters and outerwear. This look may be called the Slouch, but it still toed the line of classy looks.

In the 1970s this look might have been controversial, but it was instantly popular, and Ellis’s work has been ever since, despite his death in 1986. Although Perry Ellis’s fashion has changed over time to fit the newest fashion trends, it has always kept our men and women looking fine. 

Who are your favorite fashion designers? Do you know anyone famous from Hampton Roads? What are other weird facts about “The 757” that you want us to explore? Tell us in the comments.


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