Featured Business Leader Peter Morrissey

Featured Business Leader  Peter Morrissey


Leading businesspeople across the world are famous for overcoming obstacles and beating the odds for the sake of their business success. The variety of issues that can strike a business is wide – but the best entrepreneurs are those with the tenacity and determination to find solutions to every problem. Peter Morrissey is one such entrepreneur – a fashion icon on a business rollercoaster ride. He remains a businessman and entrepreneur, a well-known face in Australian design – and we’re thrilled that our AIB community will be able to hear more of his incredible story at our Adelaide Alumni Event on November 6th, 2014.

Born in the Sutherland Shire, south of Sydney, Peter Morrissey grew up with a keen interest in fashion and design. This interest developed into a career in the early 1980’s, when he debuted his first designs in Sydney’s edgy fashion scene – and his talent continued to develop with his involvement in the OX Co-Op in Darlinghurst.  It was here that he met fellow fashion designer and rising star in the industry, Leona Edmiston, and together they formed the Morrissey Edmiston partnership – opening stores in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane

Peter Morrissey’s edgy designs were a hit with a wide variety of people, and over the years he has dressed leading celebrities both in Australia and around the world, including Nicole Kidman, Elle MacPherson, Helena Christensen, Jerry Hall, Dame Edna, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Megan Gale, Kylie Minogue, Jon Bon Jovi, Chris Isaac, Geoffrey Rush, Michael Hutchence and INXS.

His achievements as a designer and business owner were slowly beginning to be recognised. This recognition led to the creation and launch of his first eponymous brand, MORRISSEY, in 1997. MORRISSEY was designed with a modern lifestyle in mind. Peter himself said that MORRISSEY was “about celebrating life to the full.” Of his designs, he said “I don’t make clothes to protect you from the rain; I make them so you forget it’s raining. I believe people wear my sunglasses to feel like a rock star – not to keep the sun out of their eyes.”

In addition to his involvement with MORRISSEY, Peter Morrissey was awarded several lucrative and widely recognised design projects – he was heavily involved in the design and creation of costumes for the Sydney Olympics Opening Ceremony in 2000, and in 2003 he was awarded the contract to design new uniforms for every staff member at Qantas. With this partnership, he was also appointed as an Ambassador for the Qantas Share the Spirit Initiative, and a mentor for the Qantas Spirit of Youth Awards.

MORRISSEY was an incredibly successful brand for many years both as its own entity and under the ownership of the Oroton Group who bought the brand in 2000. It was then sold to M Webster Holdings in 2006 – and it was this organisation which made the decision to shut all MORRISSEY stores and operations during the economic downturn in 2009.

Shortly after the closure of the brand he built and designed for 12 years, Peter Morrissey suffered a major health scare in the form of a cerebral aneurysm. Beating the odds, he spent four months in hospital recovering, and plotting his next business move. Selling his apartment in Darlinghurst, Peter used the proceeds of the sale to purchase his ‘name’ back from M Webster Holdings, and in late 2009 launched the Peter Morrissey collection for Big W – providing quality, well-designed and affordable clothing to the masses. Of the range, he has said “I didn’t go over to Big W to make cheap clothes. I went there to make appropriately priced clothes because people are suffering.”

This has since extended to a range of home wares and children’s clothes – and the juggernaut of the Peter Morrissey brand shows no signs of stopping. This particular story is another of great interest to me – the realities of business, the cutthroat nature of a glitz-and-glamour industry is so often forgotten.

Would you like to hear more about Peter Morrissey’s story? We are delighted to announce that Peter will be the special guest speaker at our Adelaide Alumni Event, being held on November 6th at Adelaide Oval.  Are you interested in attending? Contact us via email at alumni@aib.edu.au.

This article was written by Simone Ball on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. The following sources have been used to prepare this article: WikipediaSydney Morning Herald, The Age.

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