SUR­VIVAL OF THE FITTEST

Na­tional De­signer Award win­ner P.E Na­tion.

Harper’s Bazaar (Australia) - - Contents -

Cre­at­ing and nur­tur­ing a healthy fash­ion busi­ness is hard. Launch­ing a brand ro­bust enough to en­dure an Orangeth­e­ory class from day one is al­most un­heard of. Pip Edwards and Claire Tre­go­ning might be big­ger ad­vo­cates of Pi­lates, but the pair’s ac­tivewear la­bel, P.E Na­tion, es­tab­lished just two years ago, has en­joyed the kind of growth more aligned with 2018’s an­swer to F45. then again, Edwards, an in­flu­encer be­fore in­flu­encers ex­isted who has worked ev­ery­where from ksubi to Gen­eral Pants, and Tre­go­ning, a for­mer de­signer for sass & bide, were well placed to hit the ground run­ning.the pair de­buted the la­bel, now in­stantly iden­ti­fi­able for its black-and-block-colour pal­ette and retro aes­thetic, at MBFWA in 2016 with 45 stock­ists al­ready in the (gym) bag.

Since then they’ve ex­panded into the US, part­ner­ing with stock­ists in­clud­ing Equinox, re­leased col­lab­o­ra­tions with Ree­bok and cult spin-class brand Soulcy­cle, grown their denim of­fer­ing and cre­ated a menswear line (much loved by their fe­male cus­tomers). the Kar­dashian-jen­ners are also big fans of their crop tops and leg­gings (which, in­ci­den­tally, are among the top-sell­ing core items). there’s also an on­go­ing part­ner­ship with Wool­mark, and last month they took out the pres­ti­gious Na­tional De­signer Award dur­ing the Vir­gin Aus­tralia Mel­bourne Fash­ion Fes­ti­val.

“It’s been such a great ex­pe­ri­ence,” Edwards tells me from P.E Na­tion’s spa­cious new HQ in Alexan­dria, Syd­ney. “I think, for us, even though things have grown su­per quickly, our fo­cus is on be­ing a house­hold na­tional brand. this award was re­ally im­por­tant to se­cure our space as a na­tional de­signer.”

Edwards’s and Tre­go­ning’s roles are split into sales/mar­ket­ing and de­sign, re­spec­tively, but the pair al­ways comes to­gether to nut out the cre­ative vi­sion for ev­ery new col­lec­tion. Each sea­son fo­cuses on a dif­fer­ent sport­ing world; right now, it’s all about phys-ed. “didn’t we all love that at school?” Edwards asks with a laugh. Still, it can’t have trau­ma­tised her too much — the look­book was shot on site at her old high school. But be­yond that, there’s no grand theme for the col­lec­tion. Much like Gucci and Ba­len­ci­aga, two of the most

in­flu­en­tial houses in fash­ion at the mo­ment, Edwards and Tre­go­ning have fol­lowed a strat­egy of evo­lu­tion, not revo­lu­tion when it comes to the sea­sonal look of P.E Na­tion. “I think that’s what has made the brand stand out, to be hon­est — hold­ing onto our aes­thetic and re­ally driv­ing that home, where the only things that change are what’s chang­ing glob­ally: colour and print trends and sil­hou­ettes,” Edwards says.

In­deed, the new­ness in the Phys. Ed col­lec­tion is thanks to an in­jec­tion of pas­tels in the form of vin­tage-print tees and sweaters and con­trast-pan­elled leg­gings, which in­ter­min­gle with the la­bel’s sig­na­ture black and bright sta­ples, stonewashed denim hood­ies, best­seller shell jack­ets in racer prints and retro sweats. “we had yoga in mind, ”tre­go­ning says.

“I think it made us think ‘earthy’,” Edwards adds. “i mean, it’s not pas­tel in its true sense be­cause we splice it with a bright colour or a black, but the softer pal­ette is play­ing to that fem­i­nine side, whereas we are usu­ally quite tomboy. I’m ac­tu­ally rock­ing it to­day. I don’t feel that much softer, though!

“But it’s def­i­nitely based on who we are and what we do — that’s the whole in­tegrity be­hind the brand,” Edwards con­tin­ues. “We have cer­tain pil­lars in our busi­ness — the work­ing mum, the fash­ion girl, the street style [tomboy] and then, ob­vi­ously, the fit­ness en­thu­si­ast — and Claire and I are all those things. So if our per­son­al­i­ties don’t fit into the looks then they’re not go­ing to work — that’s been a proven recipe.we are our best cus­tomers.”

And am­bas­sadors, for that mat­ter. Look no fur­ther than Edwards’s In­sta­gram feed (@pip_ed­wards1), which is essen­tially pho­tos of her look­ing fab­u­lous in P.E Na­tion, work­ing out at Flu­id­form Pi­lates, box­ing in Bondi or trav­el­ling the globe to pro­mote the brand.

But Edwards is also con­stantly on the look­out on so­cial me­dia for P.E Na­tion cus­tomers who work the brand as hard, and well, as they do to drive home the brand mes­sage. “i love to stalk these women who wear our stuff; you know, there are some mums, they could have a fol­low­ing of 20 peo­ple but they are so proud and amazing and we’ll post them on our P.E Na­tion feed, or there are the girls who have a mil­lion fol­low­ers. It doesn’t mat­ter — it’s the way they in­ter­pret the brand and wear it that’s im­por­tant,” she says. “we are for all the women.”

“We have cer­tain pil­lars in our busi­ness — the work­ing mum, the fash­ion girl, the street style [tomboy], the fit­ness en­thu­si­ast — and Claire and I are all those things.”

Claire Tre­go­ning (left) and Pip Edwards.

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