Photography: Gina Canavan
Alanna Pearl is not exactly unknown—but she’s not famous either. Still, you’ve probably seen her on Instagram or liked one of her outfits, even if you don’t realize it. That’s because, aside from racking up her own dedicated following, she’s been copied by some of fashion’s biggest faces. And unlike most girls with a solid 50,000 followers, Alanna, or Pearly, as she likes to be called, is determined to be bigger than the internet. With a new capsule collection and a passion for period activism, it seems Instagram’s most reluctant It Girl, is already on her way.
BULLETT caught up with the budding designer and menstruation advocate to learn more about her signature style and the perks of being popular on the web.
Name: Alanna Pearl, you can call me Pearly
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Occupation: Wardrobe Stylist & Creative Design/Wardrobe Design
Style Icon: Anyone with a refusal to conform
Favorite Article of Clothing: My piggy purse by Barbara Bologna I customized with some hardcore ear piercings & a chain to wear cross body style
Favorite Brand: Area Di Barbara Bologna
Guilty Pleasure: I’m a Spliff girl all day
Beauty Item You Can’t Live Without: Red lipstick applied as if it were chapstick
How would people know you?
Through the internet. But I hope for it to be my work, though I have a long way to go before that happens at the capacity I desire.
Tell us about your line.
I was given the opportunity to design a mini capsule collection in collaboration with Esqape, a local LA eyewear and accessories brand that is expanding into garment production. I was inspired by a beautiful image of 1960s sexploitation actress, GiGi Darlene, sitting nude in a studio looking down into a mirror with garlands of delicate flowers hanging around her. It’s got this weird nostalgic feeling that makes me long for something familiar, yet far away—dreamy and delicate, but still sexy. The collection is all sheers, silks, marabou & lace trims in ’60s silhouettes, brought back to contemporary style with updated colors and fabrics.
What else are you working on?
I’m designing a fall line with a new UK-based denim brand, and for this summer, I’m starting a donation drive that will coincide with an educational event promoting menstruation cups, reusable pads and underwear I want to donate to the DTLA Women’s Shelter. I’m aiming to give 1,000 pads/panties twice a year to offer sanitary menstrual protection to the 1,000 female residents of Skid Row. I’m a huge advocate for menstrual cups and reusable pads/panties for so many reason and I want to raise awareness for the beautiful people and brands that make them.
How did you get into fashion?
Fashion got into me—growing up in the change of the millennium, there was and still is something really inspiring about watching the death of analog and the birth of the digital world, and how people adapted those ideas into fashion. […] But I’m just doing and wearing what makes me happy, and feels the most like me. I don’t really follow trends—I’ve found myself being able to create a career by just being myself.
What do you wish you could change about the industry?
The over-saturation of all of it.
How would you describe your style?
Effortlessly inconvenient yet still subtle and cool—I have invented my own language through clothing and I’m not stopping ‘til it’s understood. But I do try to have all my garments and accessories serve a purpose. Sometimes one function may get in the way of another, or make certain things more difficult, but it’s what makes me happy and comfortable.
What about in middle school?
A mess, but in the most endearing way possible.
What are the best and worst parts about being on Instagram?
Watching as the world poses for a picture when so much behind it was staged and photoshopped has to be the worst—it’s all a facade. But the best thing is being able to make your own reality.
Has the internet helped your career?
I hate to even wonder if I would even have one without it—I’d like to think I’d be further without the help of Instagram, but to be honest, I don’t think that’s the case. I have this platform to show the world my ideas, even if I don’t always get the credit—I’d rather have a voice and scream to no one, than have an audience who doesn’t listen.