Having worked with renowned brands including ksubi, sass & bide and General Pants Co, stylist and creative consultant, Pip Edwards sure knows a thing or two about fashion. And now she’s taking her first steps into fashion design alongside acclaimed designer Claire Tregoning with a new sporty-chic activewear label.
Aptly named P.E. Nation, in a nostalgic nod to physical education and Pip’s own initials, the label is as much inspired by Pip’s urban lifestyle as her taste in clothes. Think retro and tomboy inspired designs like crop tops, football-jersey style sweaters, bomber jackets, raw cut tees and sleek black separates. In short, it’s what sweaty (and busy) dreams are made of.
Read on as Pip talks about her design inspiration, must-have pieces, and career milestones.
Pip Edwards on her debut active wear label
What inspired you to start your own active wear line P.E. Nation?
Doing my own thing had always been brewing in the back of my mind, but it wasn’t until I was at lunch with Claire [co-designer, Claire Tregoning] that the penny dropped and P.E Nation was born. When timing, creativity and commerciality all intersect, you know you are onto something.
What sort of woman do you design P.E. for? Do you have a particular muse in mind when designing or were you inspired by your own lifestyle and fitness regime?
P.E Nation is definitely designed around our lifestyles and fitness regimes. Juggling work, kids and fitness requires versatile attire. And when you work in the fashion industry, this versatile attire also needs to look current, fashion forward and relevant. P.E Nation combines all of those stylish needs whilst allowing you to feel comfortable as well.
Do you have a favourite piece in the collection and why?
I have a few (of course!) and they change every week. I live in The Rocky Mesh Tee at the moment, because it really blurs the line between fashion and sport. It’s 100% cotton so it’s totally breathable, yet it’s semi sheer making it kind of sexy. It can be worn to the gym or styled back with denim; it really is perfect in all scenarios. The Tough Juice Sweat is another personal fave – the zip detail really allows you to customise the piece to suit your activity. I love pieces that allow for different ways of styling, depending on what you are doing and where you are going.
What key active wear/ athleisure trends do you foresee this 2016?
I don’t follow trends in active wear, I don’t really think about it that way. I draw inspiration from a wide variety of places. I work towards the P.E aesthetic and attitude, which is distinctively tomboy and build on that. Colour blocking, hints of retro and oversized tomboy silhouettes are some of the themes you will see.
The lines between active wear and daywear are more blurred than ever. What are your tips for styling this sporty chic look?
It’s all about the change of a trainer. Once you switch out of your gym trainers and into more of a street style, it can change the whole vibe.
What does an average workday look like?
It’s jam-packed. From organising my son, Justice, in the morning, to getting into work, then meetings and more meetings, trying to squeeze in an F45 session before I pick up Justice from my mum, to getting home, having dinner and then starting on my P.E emails through the night – it’s been crazy busy of late, but I love it.
What has been your career highlight so far?
Every career change has been a career highlight. From working at PricewaterhouseCoopers to jumping into the fashion industry and working at ksubi, then sass & bide, to being at General Pants and now getting P.E off the ground – it’s all been an awesome and organic journey and they are all highlights in my eyes. I take a piece of them with me every time I move forward.
What has been the best advice that you’ve ever been given?
The grass is greener where you water it – well I guess that’s just one of my favourite phrases. The best advice that I’ve recently been given was actually from Justice [Pip’s son] “keep going mum, you’ll get there and it will be worth it!” – somehow it means a whole lot more when your own son says it to you.
What are your top three tips for someone starting out in the fashion industry?
Be a sponge, make an effort to get to know everyone, be eager and proactive and do as much as you can. Soak it all in, ask questions, do your research, trust your gut.
What would you say is the best part of your job and the worst?
I love working on photo shoots – they excite me. And more so when they are your own brand! The worst part is keeping track of expenses and managing the mountain of emails.
What is your advice on a healthy work/life balance?
Make time for life and make time to work out. It’s good for the body, mind and soul. I’m out of balance a lot of the time and have to remember to take time out. Trying to be in balance is part of the journey … to be conscious that a balance is needed means you’re half way there!
What do you do for fun in your down time?
I drink Bloody Marys with friends, I relax at the beach, I go to Pilates, I watch my son play basketball, I like to have weekends away when I can and I really love watching Suits.