HOW I MAKE IT WORK...

IN 2008, ED­WINA ROBINSON FOUNDED FASH­ION LA­BEL AJE WITH BEST FRIEND ADRIAN NOR­RIS. AS HALF OF ONE OF AUS­TRALIA’S MOST SUC­CESS­FUL DE­SIGN DUOS, SHE RE­FLECTS ON BAL­ANC­ING FRIEND­SHIP WITH BUSI­NESS

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents - Aje is avail­able at Myer; myer.com.au.

Aje’s Ed­wina Robinson on work­ing with mates.

When Adrian [Nor­ris] and I met through friends 13 years ago, it felt like fall­ing in love. Not ro­man­ti­cally, but like fall­ing in love with a friend that you know you’ll have for­ever. We just seemed to fit.

Years later, Adrian owned a high-end bou­tique in Noosa and I was work­ing for a fash­ion magazine in Syd­ney when he called and needed ad­vice on a few things. We started col­lab­o­rat­ing and de­cided to cre­ate some­thing spe­cial. That was the birth of fash­ion la­bel Aje.

Com­ing from dif­fer­ent back­grounds has def­i­nitely af­fected our de­signs. Adrian stud­ied at a pres­ti­gious fine arts school in Venice and I’ve al­ways been into styling, but it’s this con­trast that makes us work. Some­times I can go a lit­tle bit too high fash­ion and creative and Adrian has to rein me in.

Our cloth­ing is all about mix­ing tough and fem­i­nine, ur­ban and coastal. In dif­fer­ent stages of our lives one of us has gone one way cre­atively, while the other has headed in the op­po­site di­rec­tion. When Adrian’s in a hap­pier place, his de­signs are softer and more flow­ing and then I bring the rock com­po­nent, and vice versa. We’ve al­ways un­der­stood it’s those two el­e­ments com­bined that brings the magic. We bal­ance each other out.

Work­ing to­gether has made our friend­ship a lot deeper – a lit­tle bit like how a mar­riage makes a re­la­tion­ship deeper. We’ve been through many ups and downs – per­sonal and busi­ness – and it’s re­ally nice to know that you have this per­son by your side no mat­ter what.

We cel­e­brate lit­tle tri­umphs, but there have also been big mile­stones, like our first fash­ion pa­rade in Syd­ney’s Martin Place and when Myer came knock­ing on our door in 2015. Some­times Adrian and I cel­e­brate with din­ner and cham­pagne, but oth­er­wise go­ing home with a happy heart is cel­e­bra­tion in it­self.

When it comes to dis­agree­ments, we deal with them bet­ter than we used

to – he would shout and I would flee. In the heat of the mo­ment you ob­vi­ously get frus­trated with each other, but now we just breathe through it.

Last year we opened our ninth store in Aus­tralia and now we’re work­ing on our re­sort col­lec­tion. If I didn’t have Adrian by my side, Aje would not be where it is to­day. I don’t know what it would be like to do it on my own, but I def­i­nitely don’t want to find out.

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