Photo courtesy Amber Perley.

Catching up with three up-and-coming local designers from the ‘inRegister’ archives

Some years seem like they go by in a flash! Others (looking at you, 2020) seem to last a lifetime. But the five years since inRegister spotlighted three local fashion designers on the rise have been filled with tremendous growth and change for each of these style-savvy individuals. With half a decade in the rearview mirror, we decided to follow up with these designers to take a look at where they are now. Spoiler alert: creativity is still thriving in the midst of COVID-19.

Peyton Taylor Tillman

When we first profiled Tillman, she was an LSU junior with her own line of soft T-shirts featuring fun phrases. But over the past five years, Peyton Taylor Tillman has worked with prominent brands such as Alice + Olivia and Reebok, gaining a deeper understanding behind the art of fabric design and development. Currently based in New York City, Tillman perhaps dealt with her biggest career change this past spring, becoming one of COVID-19’s career casualties when Reebok furloughed a majority of its staff, including Tillman. But at a time when she was at a loss for what to do, Tillman kept a concept brewing in the background.

With an original plan to launch her brand, Taylor Tillman New York, in the spring of 2021, the effects of COVID-19 convinced her to throw out her rulebook and help those suffering by using her collection of fabric to produce masks for essential workers and caregivers. Through Taylor Tillman New York, Tillman hopes to create a brand dedicated to sustainability, creating comfortable and contemporary clothing for women while also giving back to those in need.

“It was a blessing in disguise, because it told me I could do this,” she says. “It’s only right that when you grow, you try to give back.”

Fans can expect a mini collection launch from Taylor Tillman New York this November, as well as another collection early next spring.

Ashley Andrews Dodge

Photo courtesy Ashley Dodge.

In 2015, Ashley Andrews Dodge was taking part in New Orleans Fashion Week’s Top Designer competition and winning scholarships for wedding gown design. Since we last spoke with her, the designer has graduated from LSU with a degree in apparel design and has spent the past four-and-a-half years working as a fashion designer and domestic fashion buyer for The Royal Standard in Baton Rouge. Dodge’s work includes designing and overseeing the production of all fashion and accessories, as well as purchasing seasonal domestic fashion for its retail stores. Her role has opened up opportunities to travel to different markets around the globe.

As the years have passed, she has reflected on the most important thing she’s learned in design: the life cycle of a product. “I work with my team on the product from the initial concept all the way to final packaging on the store shelves and everything in between,” says Dodge, who is currently at work on designing Christmas pajamas for the 2021 holiday season. “In most cases we are working on product a year in advance to make sure all designs, sizing, packaging and production are ready to go for the intended selling season,” she says.

As for the future, Dodge will never stop designing and creating. “It gives me such a sense of pride to see one of my products being purchased and used, and knowing it was once just a thought or a conversation during a meeting,” she says.

Amber Perley

Since its launch in 2008, Amber Perley’s Pearl Southern Couture line has captured the essence of Southern style through collections inspired by the Deep South. However, Perley, an apparel design graduate of LSU with a background in photography, has broadened her focus throughout her career, now working with other brands, some of which are outside of the fashion realm.

“In addition to running Pearl, I have consulted for multiple startups, directing marketing and sales efforts,” she says. “I also continue to create designs for special events, most notably a gown for the 61st annual Grammy Awards ceremony.

Perley has since gone on to join forces with her sister Ashton Perley through the launch of their creative company, SISTER, which offers a plethora of creative services ranging from photography to brand development. In the past five years, Perley has fed her passion for photography through Amber Perley Photography, based in Austin, Texas.

“My sister and I both graduated with bachelor’s degrees in design and have spent many years working in fine arts, photography, fashion design, marketing graphics, animation and web design, so we decided to join forces and create our agency,” she says. “We offer a large portfolio of creative services to help bring our clients’ creative vision to life. In fact, we just wrapped up our most recent project, the annual Neighborhood Guide for a local magazine, Tribeza. We are so excited for the future of our company and new projects that lie ahead!”