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Big W recruits fashion designer Peter Morrissey

Australian fashion designer Peter Morrissey is to design a range of affordable clothes for discount department store chain Big W.

Morrissey will team up on the project with fashion entrepreneur Bruno Schiavi, whose previous design collaborations with Delta Goodrem and Brett Lee have already proved successful for Big W.

The partnership will see the launch of a range of women's fashions and men's and women's underwear.

Big W GM of soft goods, Georgia Sotiropoulos, said the Morrissey name is synonymous with stylish and contemporary clothing and "as an Australian designer he understands what best suits Australians".

The move comes a year after rival discount chain Target launched a range of clothes by UK designer Stella McCartney. It's an increasingly common trend among fast fashion retailers in Europe to partner with name designers. Globally-expanding Topshop has a long-term design relationship with Kate Moss.

Sotiropoulos says Big W's customers are searching for value and style.

"Joining forces with Peter Morrissey and Bruno Schiavi enables Big W to extend its range of on trend fashions so everyone can look good for less."

In a statement issued by Big W, Morrissey said it has been "a lifelong ambition" to design and produce high quality clothing and apparel which appeals to every Australian.

"I always live by the mantra of, ‘if you have to economise, don't compromise'. This is my way of helping all of Australia fulfill that."

Big W says the range will go on sale in spring.

McDonald's role

Meanwhile, Morrissey will have 4,000 McDonald's managers across the country wearing his designs by 2010.

He recently unveiled the uniforms to a group of McDonald's managers in an office above a Sydney restaurant.

"You will look like a person who runs a $3 to $6 million business," Morrissey told the group.

"No one will walk into McDonald's and go `is that a Morrissey jacket?' they will go, `you're the manager'.

"You have to throw yourself into the cooking chips area and all that (and)... everyone knows the manager is helping out.

"And when you hop on the bus everyone goes, `I wonder where he works?'

"I believe your company uniform becomes your company pride because your CEO loves you so much that they got Peter Morrissey in to design it."

Morrissey said he understood the intense working conditions of McDonald's staff.

"I'm not a magician, but at least you'll look fabulous when you're sweating," he said.

"I want you to walk into rooms and... you to understand that your whole life will change when you put this on."

He said the recession was forcing Australians to look for cheaper eateries like McDonald's.

"People are going to be eating there more and I'd like it to look like it wasn't a takeaway spot."

This is the latest uniform gig for Morrissey, who has also dressed Qantas staff in Aboriginal inspired outfits and OPSM employees in merino wool ensembles.

"I put 72,000 Australians a day in uniforms," he said.

McDonald's Australia's communications manager Bronwyn Stubbs said the company was "excited" about the collaboration.

"(We) feel that his unique sense of style married with functionality is a good fit with our brand and will produce a great result for our managers."

This article first appeared on Inside Retailing.

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