You may not know the name Pip Edwards, but as an Aussie who worked in the Sydney media industry, I sure as hell do. Before taking on a design director role at one of Australia’s biggest streetwear chains, Edwards was the accessories designer at Sass and Bide and (very successfully) freelanced as a stylist. Her style–which I guarantee you is plastered over every single Australian street-style blog—embodies all the things you love about the way girls dress Down Under. She’s nonchalant and sporty—a total tomboy—and mixes high and low designer pieces like she was born wearing the stuff.
Now, Pip has her own label and has fittingly decided to introduce a line of streetwear-inspired athleisure named using her initials: P.E Nation. The first collection launched this month and is available for you to shop online right now (yes, the brand delivers to the U.S.) In July, the line—with pieces ranging from $69 to $179—will also drop at stores such as Carbon 38, Bandier, Equinox, and Urban Outfitters.
I chatted with the stylist-turned-designer to learn a little more about her label, the new Aussie swim brands she’s wearing (and that you should be too), the Instagram accounts she obsesses over, and her own personal style.
StyleCaster: Why launch athleisure?
Pip Edwards: Activewear speaks to my lifestyle. I’m a super-active mother, I love fitness, and I love sportswear, especially street sportswear. I actually collect trainers. The penny dropped when it dawned on me that my initials also stand for physical education! Everything just seemed to align.
What sparked the idea for P.E Nation?
[My cofounder] Claire Tregoning and I worked side by side at Sass and Bide. I was senior creative and she was senior designer, and we literally sat next to each other for the whole time we were there. About a year ago we had lunch, and the idea just stemmed from that! Between us, we realized that we had all the skills and experience we needed to get this idea off the ground.
Do you design the collections yourself?
Claire and I do the ranges, color palette, and prints together. You must remember because we have worked together for so long, we’re so on the same page; it’s almost like we’re one. We regularly have design days, these are my absolute favorite days. It’s when Claire who actually goes away and turns these ideas into designed tech packs.
I love that the activewear looks like something you could wear outside the gym. How do you come up with your designs?
I get inspiration from everywhere. Mainly high-end fashion trends from the runway. P.E Nation is definitely fashion-driven. Inspiration also comes from artists such as Ellsworth Kelly with regards to color-blocking. Inspiration also comes from the street, it comes from ’90s music, but mainly it comes from within Claire and I and what we know we need to live a fashionable functional lifestyle.
What sets P.E Nation apart from other activewear and athleisure brands?
P.E Nation has a very strong confident tomboy aesthetic. It has a nostalgic feel to it, in a retro kind of way, yet it is still modern with its current street influence. You actually can wear it from the gym and then on to the street and get on with your day, without feeling like you’re in gym gear. Or you can wear it with denim for the perfect street-style look.
What words describe your style?
Urban sport, street, tomboy, denim.
What Instagram accounts do you check regularly?
Veronika Heilbrunner, Kate Bosworth, Julia Restoin Roitfeld, Ground Zero Official, and My Theresa to name a few—but mainly models, retailers, photographers, and friends.
What’s the single beauty product you can’t live without?
Paw paw ointment.
What’s your signature scent?
Ooooh, not sure I want to give away my combo haha—but I will: Dior Bois D’Argent mixed with Tom Ford Vanilla Tabac.
What’s the one thing we’d never catch you wearing?
A dress. Very rarely do I wear one.
What up-and-coming Australian fashion brands do you think everyone should know?
Double Rainbouu is a super-fun unisex Hawaiian shirt brand that I love. Ten Pieces is another awesome up-and-coming brand that’s one to watch. In terms of Aussie brands, I love Ellery, Lover, Bec and Bridge, Josh Goot, Camilla and Marc, and Maticevski—they’re all awesome, and all happen to be my mates!!
Is there a particular swimsuit or bikini brand you’ll be wearing this summer?
The new brand on the block is Matteau—the cut, the fit, the colors are just exceptional, and Ilona (the designer) is one stylish lady! It’s honestly the most flattering swimwear I have ever put on, and I live in swimsuits. Fella is another Aussie brand that is killing it—super-sexy, fun prints and great cuts!
What fashion trend do you struggle to get behind?
That true bohemian is just not for me. Elements I can cope with, but overall, it’s not for me.
If money was no object, what would you be wearing?
Saint Laurent. However, after the recent shows, Balenciaga is right up my alley.