Mark Ferguson, creator of mens fashion label Wil Valor, has made a splash on the biggest stage possible.

Mark Ferguson is a Brisbane local who gave up a professional basketball career to pursue his interest in mens fashion. Ferguson says he originally starting dabbling in the world of fashion out of necessity.

“I’m six foot five and I couldn’t find anything that fit me properly. It was a real pain having to get things custom made.”

His dabbling led to the creation of his label, Wil Valor. The name is inspired by the Scottish roots of his last name.

“My last name is actually Scottish and Ferguson means ‘man of valor’. So it’s all about knighthood, chivalry, and being a gentleman.”

Ferguson recently made headlines with a purple jacket that he designed for Australian NFL star Jesse Williams, whom he describes as a ‘gentleman off the field’. Williams wore the jacket when the Seattle Seahawks visited the White House after winning the Superbowl.

“Jesse couldn’t find anything to fit him. So we sat down and talked and I knew that I couldn’t put him in a classic, conservative jacket,” he says of the decision to use such a unique design.

What Ferguson didn’t expect was the amount of attention the jacket attracted.

“The attention was great for branding for the business but it was not planned, it was completely unexpected. Jesse made a big statement without saying anything at all. He is a quiet guy so the jacket was a way for him to have his own personal ‘brand’.”

On the home front, Ferguson is part of the fashion committee for the Brisbane Racing Carnival for the second year in a row.

“It’s my role to help create an outstanding fashion event. So we have to find the right judges, source great prizes and really engage people.”

He is the only male on the committee, which is chaired by bmag’s own Laura Stead-Churchill.

“It’s great, the girls look after me! But in all seriousness, it’s good to have a guy on the committee — it balances out the thoughts and brings in another perspective,” he says. “I got involved because I appreciate the level of dress that the races entail; [I appreciate] dressing like a gentleman.”

Ferguson is working hard to get more men involved in the fashion side of the races.

“I think the competition [Fashions on the Field] can be skewed as something that’s only for girls, but it’s not. Guys can be a part of it, too.”

Ferguson recently judged the Doomben 10,000 fashion event and says he was very impressed by the number of entrants and the quality of their outfits. He believes the fashion component of Stradbroke Day will be even more impressive.

“The fashion events will be fiercely competitive! People should definitely come and watch them; it will definitely be a good show.”

Tickets are still available for the Peacock Lane Fashion Marquee at the AAMI Stradbroke Day.