Family History

This photo represents a bench that was erected on the White Rock Pier by the Kiwanis Club to honour my grandfather, Bill Perry for his charitable work within the community.

Every time I venture down to the beach in White Rock it brings a feeling of nostalgia and pride. As a child, we visited my grandparents from where we lived in Burnaby. It was a tradition, a family dinner with Grandma and Grandpa every Sunday. My Grandma made baking soda biscuits for dinner and I remember her standing there by the stove, when the roast was cooking, whipping up a batch. She coated them with a mixture of sugar and water to give that sweet taste and shine on top. After dinner, it was a game of bridge with my grandfather who was a snap player. If you didn't play a card right you would hear about it.

We all have wonderful memories of our families I know, and I love hearing all the stories we have exchanged over the years at my studio. But what has this to do with fashion.

To continue my story, my grandparents were from Saskatoon, and my mom and four other siblings were raised there. It was trying times with the war going on but my grandfather managed to raise his family. Along with other talents he had a head for finance but also had fashion panache. He founded Perry's Ladies Wear Ltd. which became a well-known and successful business on the prairies. It flourished and the store grew to include Moose Jaw and Regina.

My mom was a buyer and merchandiser alongside my grandfather. She did several trips with him to New York to do their buying. In those days it included day wear which were dresses then, furs, long evening dresses (even fit for the Prime Minister's wife) lingerie and accessories. I also remember the story when the PM called my grandfather "Bill" at his store and asked to purchase this gown for his wife for the inaugural ball. He hesitated as my mom had the dress on layaway for her special prom. He asked my mom and she couldn't part with it so he said sorry John, it's on reserve for my daughter. It was the most beautiful silk fringe dress with tiny string straps and long to the floor. Gorgeous! My sisters and I always loved dressing up in it when we were allowed.

After the war, my grandparents retired in their fifties and moved to the Bluff on Kristopherson Road at Crescent Beach and so the weekly family dinners started then when we were young. The same log house is there (at least the last time I looked) just to the right of the walkway to the beach at the base of 24th. I still dream about that house and all the love and laughter it brought to our lives.

The passion for fashion and design was carried forward to me pursuing a design and manufacturing career creating my own brand of children's wear, Monkeybars with character artwork designed by my good friend Del Eckstein. Together we brought these characters to life and on to the backs of multitudes of children. Later I grew the business into school spirit wear which accumulated to over a third of the market share of schools in BC and a handful in Alberta. Monkeybars and W. Perry Fashion and Design were known for quality, creativity and excellent customer service.

Those relationships with my customers, the parent groups and sports team I will always treasure. It gave me the foundation for my next step into developing clothing for women. The idea of women having a line they could relate to and a company they count on was what I was passionate about. Perryl Style was born and the name was a take-off from Perry. My mother, Wilda Perry worked with me well into her eighties so a good work ethic was instilled in me.

I hope you have enjoyed this insight into our family and look forward to continuing to bring you styles in new fabrics and colours to enjoy. Pop me an email anytime with suggestions. Your travel photos and stories wearing Perryl I would greatly appreciate! I love to hear from you.

Now, the fourth generation, my daughter Meghan is starting to make her own footprint in fashion. More news to come on that.