Pip Edward’s mother was Palestinian and was featured in New York’s TIME magazine as one of the first women to ever drive a car in Egypt. It sounds small-scale but in a time where women didn’t have an independent place in this world (outside the benign duties of homemaker and caretaker), it was pioneering. “As the only child that also happened to be a girl, [this sentiment] came through to the point where she brought me up to be like a man,” says Edwards.
Today, the tomboyish streetwear-meets-athleisure designer is at the top of her game. Hardworking and strong, Edward’s eponymous label PE Nation is driven by her unfaltering tenacity to succeed. The pillars of the brand – physically fit, fashion conscious, on-the-go and ambitious – are intrinsically part of Edwards and her business partner Claire Tregoning’s lifestyles. And it’s this branding that has kept the US market extremely interested in the duo. PE Nation is currently stocked in Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, Shopbop and Revolve with Edwards and Tregoning showing last September at New York Fashion Week.
A single mother to her son Justice, Edwards – just like her own mum – is hell bent on passing on the same messaging around women. “The business is everything for me and my son and he’s with me every step of the way,” Edwards says. “I’ve got an opportunity to show him what women can do, how to treat women, what love is, in this new modern way– that’s a major social responsibility and he’s seeing women work hard. For me, it’s for Justice. It’s just us.”
Here, GRAZIA fires five quick questions to Edwards who will be speaking at the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival fashion summit on March 8 International Women’s Day. PE Nation will also be part of GRAZIA and ICON’s runway show on Saturday 9 March. You can purchase tickets below.
GRAZIA: How do you continue to evolve PE Nation while keeping true to its recognisable aesthetic?
PIP EDWARDS: We evolve through progressing with market trends and lifestyle choices, and even more so through category expansion. The flavour is maintained through the styling, and attitude, however, colours, prints and silhouettes update each season.
GRAZIA: The athleisure space is congested in Australia. What does it take to stay ahead of the pack in a such a fickle industry?
PE: I think it takes a strong message and clear purpose of what the brand stands for, to cut through the saturated market. Be true to your voice, be your voice and act on your voice, and this brings the product to life and gives it meaning.
GRAZIA: Day-to-day, how hard is the hustle when owning your own business?
PE: The hustle is a constant juggle and struggle. Day-to-day tasks and short-term strategy versus long-term strategy is always a tug of war, when you not only own the business but work in the business. But it’s this tension that is exciting and motivates me to keep going.
GRAZIA: When you look back at your days with Claire Tregoning at Sass & Bide and you reflect on the incredibly successful brand you have built together today, how have you changed as a woman?
PE: I have definitely stepped up as a woman, and as a mother. I’ve taken control in certain aspects of my life, I’ve accepted certain obstacles and have learnt to work passed what would previously hold me back. I am more sure and proud of who I am, how I feel, what I want and how to go about getting it. It all seems a lot clearer, definitely still challenging as my responsibility is greater, but I am super-charged with knowledge, experience and a gut that drives me forward.
GRAZIA: What does the future look like for PE Nation?
PE: The future of P.E Nation looks to be even more fast paced, with more to do, with new corners of the world to conquer and more women to meet! Claire and I can’t wait!
SEE GRAZIA + ICON’s RUNWAY SHOW:
WHAT: Runway 7 presented by GRAZIA + ICON (supported by Schwarzkopf at Priceline Pharmacy)
DESIGNERS: Ten Pieces, P.E. Nation, Client Liason, Double Rainbouu, Sister, Handsom and Limb styled by Peter Simon Phillips, visuals by Spencer not Spencer, music by Jonny Seymour.
WHERE: Showroom 1, Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson Street, Carlton North
WHEN: 8:30-9:15pm, Saturday 9 March, 2019
BUY TICKETS: HERE
Show tickets include entry to the official Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival after party, presented by GRAZIA and ICON at Bond Nightclub, Saturday 9th March from 9.30pm.