I've known of Peter Tamasese—the brains behind Australian brand Peter Henry—for quite some time. Whenever I'm home in Australia, I hear people rave about the Samoan designer whose hand-printed, one-off designs are the envy of the Gold Coast socialite scene. It wasn't until he headed to New York however, that I had the opportunity to meet him in person. It was the kind of meeting that reminds me of why I love working in fashion. Passionate, humble and talented, Tamasese has a clear trajectory for his designs. These are more than items of clothing they are expressions of art and as such, are available in a limited edition capacity. They are sold almost immediately after completion with the snap of a picture sent to a select group of customers. It's a grass roots operation that seems that much more special given the culture of fast fashion in our world today. — ANGELA GILLTRAP
How did you become involved in fashion design? I got involved at young age. Both my grandmother and mother were self-taught seamstresses and they were also Upeki artists—ancient Samoan block printing—my inspiration came from these amazing women learning this art form & creative mode kicked in growing up in Pacific islands of Samoa which now I mix with vibrant colors of my other Island home dear to me, Australia.
What materials do you most like to work with? All my garments are all one off, handpainted so I like to use Eco friendly/natural fibers material, including paints I use. I want everything to blend together especially colors of my two island homes the Aussie desert meets the Samoan tropics.
How does your geography influence your aesthetic? The vastness of Australia and the oceans that surrounds it; it's fauna vibrancy of Earth colors, darling beaches and forever-daring Aussies that steps into the world with amazing fashion sense. There is endless inspiration.
What's been your greatest professional achievement to date? To be invited to OXFORD Fashion Studio for New York Fashion Week to showcase along side other designers with amazing collections. It has been a step-by-step experience and meeting people who are passionate in what they do, it's my first overseas showcase so to me that is my greatest achievement to date.
What's one thing people would never guess about you? My little label Peter Henry is a rebirth or lets give it one more go I gave up on designing for almost 10yrs. In 2013, after moving to the Gold Coast, I saw the demand for resortwear. I, of cause was fascinated with Kaftans. Its different styles reactivated my passion for fashion and out came paint brushes, my favorite I call Fatima Brush given to me as gift from dear friend who lost her battle with cancer. I do not design as full-time job but only as a hobby and also can't recall some colors. Its a tiny bit of colour blindness which the collection is name after so all my garments are very limited edition. I handmade & sew myself and will not digital print any of my art work for mass production.
For more head to Peter Henry.