Pip Edwards is one of the most prominent figures in the Australian fashion industry. Since launching sportswear brand, P.E Nation, in 2016, the label has become known as a favorite activewear brand across the world. Here, we chat with her about launching a successful brand, the inspiration behind it all and get to know what she does day-to-day.
Amodrn: Please give us a brief description of yourself and your business.
I am the Co-Founder/Creative Director of P.E Nation, Mum to Justice Maximus and puppy Max.
I attended Sydney University, where I did a Bachelor of Commerce/Law Degree which saw me placed at PricewaterhouseCoopers upon completion. I worked in the area of Global Risk Management for over 2 years before jumping ship, diving head first into the fashion world of PR, Design, and Styling, with my first big job at Ksubi.
I have been incredibly lucky to work with some of the most amazing brands to come out of Australia – from PR and Design for Ksubi, whilst also being a freelance stylist with DLM, to Senior Creative and Accessories Designer at Sass & Bide and then on to General Pants Co as Design Director.
Launching P.E Nation in 2016 is definitely my major career highlight. Within the business there have been so many amazing moments – our debut MBFWA show two months after we launched, two sell-out collaborations with Reebok, a pop-up store in Selfridges London, being honoured with numerous prestigious awards and the launch of Menswear at MBFWA this year are some of the standouts that have happened over the last 2 years.
P.E Nation is an active-streetwear brand. For an urban lifestyle lived at a fast pace. Designed to perform, all day, every day.
We encourage everyone to “join the Nation”. P.E Nation.
Thanks again for taking the time to go behind the brand. First things first, though, what is something about you that the many people who follow you don’t know?
I actually studied piano throughout my schooling and completed my A.MUS. A when I was 16. I even was music captain at school, in my final year.
How did you become an “a boss babe”? What is the inside story?
I have been working in fashion for over 17 years. While P.E Nation is only a young brand, Claire and I have been in the industry, essentially doing this “forever” – it’s definitely no overnight success. P.E comes from a place of passion, experience, working knowledge with a very well thought out strategy and structure for major scale. Knowledge and experience is power. Also, strong sense of self goes a really long way. And both of these come with age.
We have merged great product with strong visual identity with a lifestyle attached to the brand, that is what people are buying in to – our vision, vibe and the community that we have created.
You may coin us as “boss babes” but we are really a dynamic duo with an equally passionate team. We make it a priority to surround ourselves with a great support network both in our business and in our personal lives.
What advice do you have for those interested in working in fashion/creative industry? How do you do decide who to work with or where to start your career?
Find what you love and what you resonate with. Trust your gut and go for it.
Arm yourself with knowledge and skill, do the time, do the work and soak it all it. It’s all part of the journey that gets you to where you deserve to be.
Fashion really is a fun and glamorous industry, however, the behind-the-scenes requires a lot of commitment, thick skin, dedication, and passion. You really have to live and breathe it. It can consume you. So you really have to love what you do.
Train your mind to think business not just creative – at the end of the day businesses operate to turn a profit. I’m very lucky that my commerce trained mind has always made me think commercially yet I have been able to merge my creative flair with my business brain. It’s the meeting of the two where you can find that sweet spot.
I love what I do. Every. Single. Day. That is what you should strive for!!!! This is actually success.
What is the biggest misconception about the fashion world today?
That it’s easy and fast. I think social media is slightly responsible for that illusion. Social media can make it look “easy”.
Generally, everything you see has been planned a year in advance – minimum.
Fashion is considered and carefully-curated, and it’s all about a critical path, budgeting and planning and forecasting, continually. There are many moving parts to a fashion business, with strict timelines, loads of research and development and testing, and now with the online landscape, there are sooooooo many ways to slice and dice the marketing, it becomes quite the beast. The hustle and sacrifice is real, amidst the runway shows and champagne lol.
Since starting P.E Nation, what have you learned about the power of branding and marketing?
P.E Nation is all about brand identity. I actually learned a lot about this during my time at ksubi. Your aesthetic, your name, your vibe, your look, your position – branding is everything, or you have nothing.
P.E Nation has a strong aesthetic – our heritage stipe, our initial logo, block colours, fluro trims – if you see these on a product it’s undeniably P.E Nation. We consistently stick to our aesthetic. When we design, we make sure that you can see some level of branding either the icon, or the logo or our stripe – so each move, each photo, you can tell it is P.E Nation.
Do you have any hobbies besides designing cool AF fashion-sportswear?
I have the most divine child in the world. My son, Justice Maximus is about to turn 12.
Pilates is a very important routine in my life that creates a foundation for my sanity and confidence.
I do spend a lot of time on the northern beaches, Palm Beach where I have a weekender, to take a breather from the hustle of the city.
I am also massive Ski junkie. I love the snow.
Who or what have been the biggest influences in your life and how do you pay it forward?
I am continually influenced by everyone around me. From my parents to my friends, to my colleagues, to past bosses. I do in the same way influence those around me – so it’s quite a circular energy. I have had some incredible mentors over my lifetime, and now I am loving getting the opportunity to be a mentor in return, from mentoring my team to public speaking at events, I love to share the journey and share the knowledge.
If you had to live with only ONE fashion accessory, what would it be?
What’s a fashion trend or style you regret following?
I’ve had some shocking hair do’s over time. My god, when I go back in time over photos, I cannot believe I went from red hair to black hair, to a quiff to a rat’s tail. Seriously, why didn’t someone tell me that my hairdos were horrific?
We know life gets crazy and distractions of everyday life begin to pile on, so how do you stay inspired designing the latest P.E collections?
I am lucky that I get to do what I love every day, there is so much we want to do – there is never a shortage of ideas! As we are constantly not only looking at fashion trends but more so art, music, landscape, architecture, there is just an endless source of inspiration everywhere. However, time is the real luxury these days and when Claire and I travel it’s that uninterrupted time in the car or on a plane is where inspiration flows and where we do our best work
#1 wellness/self-care act you do religiously?
I make working out part of my daily routine. Pilates is a non-negotiable part of my day, 3 days a week – it has not only transformed my body, but has made a huge impact on my mind and connection. If you have core strength, that strength resonates, that confidence radiates, and it impacts everything that I do.