Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?
I am the designer/creator of the locally made, small batch clothing line Pearce. I’m a costume designer for television and film, and I’m part of the design team on Saturday Night Live. I’m based in Philadelphia, which is where I’m originally from. I’m also very into hiking and am an avid outdoors woman, a yogi, and a country music DJ.
What inspired you to open your shop and create your line?
I’ve had this idea in my brain for a while so I might as well put it out into the universe and see what comes of it! I wanted to create modern basics in natural fabrics that make people feel good. It’s important that the pieces be somewhat gender-neutral, as that’s one of my ultimate goals for Pearce. When I wear natural fabrics like cotton, wool, or silk, I feel more comfortable and free.
Additionally, it’s important for me to make my line in the USA. As a costume designer, I’m always dressing actors and musicians. Often, when I’m out shopping, I’m looking at the country of origin and it’s very rarely USA. It’s important to me to be a part of the American design movement, in an artists’ community like Philly.
What inspires you?
I really love the vividness of the characters and colors in Italian films of the 1960s, particularly Juliet of the Spirits (Fellini) and Red Desert (Antonioni). I think those films in particular gave me endless insight and inspiration for how important tailoring garments to the body really is, and how to make color part of your everyday life.
l’m also really inspired by Americana, specifically Raymond Carver. I recently read, “What we talk about when we talk about Love” and “Cathedral” while traveling, and it made me think of detail and personality in a totally different way. I think when you create anything, there’s always a sense of home in there somewhere. Americana is particularly important to me when designing because I like to think of things in a timeless framework - will someone want to wear these pants next year? In 10 years?
Nature is also really essential to me and that’s why I chose the 3 main colors for my first micro-collection: tomato red, cadet blue, and navy blue. I like the way bright colors look in different situations whether in the woods or in a cityscape- they take on a life of their own. Last, but certainly not least, my work on film projects with Director/Choreographer Celia Rowlson-Hall has changed the way I look at fabric on the body. When you design costumes for dancers, you think about movement in a totally different way than if you’re designing something for an actor. The costume becomes an expression of the movement itself, and that’s something I really take into consideration when designing for Pearce.
What is your current 6-month goal and what are your steps for achieving it?
I don’t really have any goals - I really would just like people to enjoy wearing Pearce as much as I have enjoyed making it!
Where do you live and how has that affected your work and life?
I own a house in Philadelphia where I have a work studio that I built in the basement. I make everything there! I moved back to Philly a little over a year ago to take steps towards having a better quality of life. I love it here - being in nature is much more accessible for me now, and that has inspired me a lot in my designs for Pearce. I particularly was excited to shoot the GIFs for Pearce in the Wissahickon Woods, which is right near where I grew up. I was always going on woods walks as a kid, and that has really translated into my work as a designer. I love the texture of the woods, the movement of the trees, and shooting Meg Foley in the Wissahickon was very interactive and special for me.
Allison is an artist and designer living and working in Philadelphia and New York. She is an alumni of Parsons School of Design. Allison is a costume designer for various projects including narrative film, television and web series, and other creative media content, and is part of the design team forSaturday Night Live. She launched her first clothing line, Pearce, in July 2016.
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