Having studied Fashion Textiles at Liverpool John Moores University, founder Princess Thomas was no stranger to Textiles and Knitting Textiles. Wanting to create something real and heavily influenced by Caribbean’s in the 1940s, she carried with her these influences into her design work. An early onset love affair for Princess, she made sure to include her favoured interests in her own work, someday hoping to build her own line of clothing.
Prior to the Caribbean being granted its independence, a young men and women from the Caribbean volunteered as a part of the armed forces. Leaving the sun, sea and palm trees behind, Caribbean’s travelled thousands of miles across the Atlantic and onto British soil. A little piece of history, this integration was entitled the Empire Windrush, taking place in 1948 and sparking inspiration for Princess and her brand some 70 years later. Later, Princess would use her knowledge of the great Windrush to power her ideas.
Passionate about her own culture and what it represented, Princess always knew the direction her brand was headed, she just needed the right driving force. Growing up in the middle class area of Hughenden, she was keen to stay true to her Caribbean roots. Never without the sweet and soulful sounds of reggae surrounding her, Princess’ father, a Rasta, was devoted to reminding her of the background through his own sound system crew. Always well dressed, Princess took on both her father’s crisp white suits and his love of their native music as a major influence in her own work. Keen to replicate her fathers pristine style in some way, she took with her small elements of her home life to piece together her very own brand. While her father may have been a household name in the music scene, her mother didn’t shy away from the spotlight and also contributed to Princess’ grand design idea. Running her own record store, by the name of Beatmaster Record, her mother was the epitome of a go-getter, setting an example for her little girl.
Without fail, Sundays in the Thomas’ household consisted of cooking Sunday dinner with her mother. A time at which she cherished and used later in her work. Never far from a buzz of music, Sundays were filled with the humdrum of reggae and tantalising smells of a traditional a Caribbean Sunday dinner. With those sounds and smells still in mind today, Princess was determined to replicate her Sunday morning feels in some way.
From a little idea, came a big brand. Creating a love story of her own, Princess was encouraged by her husband to make her dreams a reality by starting up her esteemed brand. Today, with a range of cultural influences now in play and a new brand identity, Perpiglia & Thomas are able to spread their wings and create pieces embodying both their backgrounds. Intending to restore the textile industry to Europe, revive vintage shapes and styles, all the while using only organic materials to do so. A sustainable fashion brand today, Princess and her husband not only built a line of clothing from their ethnic backgrounds, but also cleverly combined a unique soft Italian tailoring with sharp Jamaican edges. Creating the most beautiful love story of all.