Pip Edwards x Harper's BAZAAR | My Life, My Style
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Pip Edwards x Harper's BAZAAR | My Life, My Style

Pip Edwards x
Harper's BAZAAR

P.E Nation co-founder Pip Edwards on the evolution of her personal style, her career, and her “sneaker obsession”

Australia’s reigning activewear queen Pip Edwards never met a shoe she didn’t like. With 300 pairs and counting, they form the cornerstone of her wildly colourful street-meets-luxe wardrobe.

Words by Patty Huntington, photographed by Bananas Clarke

This story originally appeared in The Fashion Issue of Harper’s BAZAAR Australia/New Zealand.

 

PIP EDWARDS RECENTLY upped her mirror selfie game. The day before Sydney’s June 2021 lockdown, the co-founder and creative director of Australian athleisure brand P.E Nation decamped from Bondi, her home of the past decade, to a two-storey apartment in Rose Bay. Now, instead of clocking her outfits of the day in front of a mirror next to her cramped shoe closet, the backdrop of her new home photo booth is a minimalist concrete-and-glass stairwell adjacent to her front door.

The mirror selfies make up just a fraction of Edwards’ Instagram photo diary. There she is, in P.E Nation’s HQ, on a shoot location, sweating it out at Fluidform Pilates’ Surry Hills studio, or taking in some “Vitamin Sea”, as she calls it, at her favourite Eastern Suburbs swimming spots: Camp Cove, Bronte Beach, Wylie’s Baths and Nielsen Park. If she wasn’t the face of P.E Nation (and an ambassador for a handful of other brands such as Estée Lauder and Mercedes-Benz), Edwards might just as well be a frontwoman for Tourism NSW.

But don’t call her an influencer. “I don’t really consider myself [one],” says Edwards. “I am of influence, 100 per cent. But this is my skill set; this is my training; this is my career that has led to a profile. That’s the distinction I’d like to make. If I was an influencer, it would just be a promotional thing. This is not that. I also run a business and a team of 55. There’s so much that goes on behind a photo.”

 

 

Indeed, Edwards has a secret weapon in all of this: her 15-year-old son, Justice, who she shares with former partner Ksubi co-founder Dan Single. More often than not, it’s Justice behind the camera — well, phone — of her street style images. “He hates it, but he’s quite good,” says Edwards. “He’s learnt to do it really quickly. He literally goes, ‘Alright, Mum. Yeah, good, great. Got it.’ Like, literally 10 minutes.”

Living her best life on Instagram is part of the business of being Pip Edwards, who first entered the fashion business as a teenager working in fashion retail for companies, including Marcs, while completing a commerce/law degree at Sydney University. She then spent three years working in global risk management at PricewaterhouseCoopers Sydney, before working for Ksubi, first in PR and later design. This was followed by a four-year stint as head of accessories at Sass & Bide (where she met Claire Tregoning, who would become her P.E Nation co-founder) and a subsequent four years as design director of General Pants Co.

Edwards and Tregoning hit the ground running with the launch of P.E Nation in 2016, and have not looked back. Today, the brand is sold in 45 countries.

 

 

But Edwards’ wardrobe goes beyond the P.E Nation leggings, bike shorts, crop tops and swimwear she loves. Her personal style could best be described as street-meets-luxe: she works back the brand’s athleisure products with a wildly colourful array of shoes, handbags and pieces from luxury brands. “There’s a series of international bloggers I absolutely love. They really know how to incorporate sneakers into their luxury, and that’s what I look for,” she says. “I’m really into The Attico girls.” The Italian street style stars-turned-designers Giorgia Tordini and Gilda Ambrosio are among her biggest style influences. “I think they’re quite inspirational in the way they mix sport and high-end,” she says.

Edwards’ luxe picks include Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Balenciaga, Gucci, Proenza Schouler, Loewe and Christian Louboutin — to name just a few. There is also a curation of denim from Re/Done, Slvrlake Denim, Acne Studios and Alexander Wang.

"All the girls would DRESS UP … but I would always have a TOMBOY EDGE to it."

Edwards is also a staunch supporter of Australian labels. She employs a heavy dose of sharp tailoring from Dion Lee, alongside pieces from Albus Lumen, Christopher Esber, Manning Cartell, Michael Lo Sordo, Ten Pieces, Scanlan Theodore, Anna Quan, Camilla and Marc, Alex Perry and many others.

Unsurprisingly, Edwards’ style has changed over the years. “Back in my Ksubi days, we were high-end street. So I was very anchored in denim, and I always had a sneaker collection. As I transitioned to Sass & Bide, the girls brought out the more feminine part of me. They would dress up at work and we’d always have heels on, but I would always have some kind of tomboy edge to it. So if I was wearing a dress, it would have to be with an oversized hoodie and be a little bit different. But then going further to General Pants, [my style was] very much anchored in trainers.”

Little wonder her shoe closet is cramped: Edwards owns more than 150 pairs of sneakers, ditto of high heels. “I have a sneaker obsession,” she says. “I’m big on colour coordination and smashing colour palettes. The sneaker does make or break the outfit.”

I have a SNEAKER OBSESSION. I’m big on COLOUR COORDINATION and smashing colour palettes. The sneaker does MAKE or BREAK the outfit.

 

 

Alongside colour, print is also paramount, from camo to zebra stripes, leopard print, polka dots and plaid. Two things you pretty much won’t find in Edwards’ wardrobe? Florals and anything boho chic. Even her beach kit has a graphic edge. Her ample swimwear collection includes Australian brands Triangl, Fella Swim, Ephemera, Wanderlust Swim and Bondi Born, worn with bold resortwear pieces from Double Rainbouu, designed by Edwards’ mate and former Ksubi colleague Mikey Nolan. She adds colourful sarongs from the Balenciaga x Gucci Hacker Project, a favourite Burberry beach tote and oversized beach towels from The Avalon and Co., Prada and Louis Vuitton, and an array of cute hats from Jacquemus, Gucci, Paper London and Burberry.

“The funny thing is that [Justice] and I have a very similar style, so we share a lot of our clothes,” she says.

“He has a very street/basketballer vibe, and he loves oversized tees, and we absolutely have a shared wardrobe. He knows he can go [into my wardrobe] and borrow any T-shirt, any track pant, and right now wear the same size. But I don’t think [it will be that way] for long. He’s 15. He’s shooting up. But I can wear a size medium men’s, because that’s my vibe. I love oversized. So whatever I buy, I know it’s bang for your buck because my son is going to wear it too.”

 

TAKE FIVE

Pip Edwards shares a few of her favourite things and important life lessons

MY FAVOURITE PERFUME IS Tom Ford Ombre Leather and Le Labo Santal 33.

MY FAVOURITE RESTAURANTS ARE Sean’s in North Bondi, Icebergs at Bondi Beach and Catalina in Rose Bay.

THE FILMS THAT HAVE IMPACTED ME MOST ARE Stealing Beauty, A Star Is Born, Hotel Rwanda, The Bourne Series and Pretty Woman.

 

 

MY FAVOURITE BOOK IS The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life, by Héctor García and Francesc Miralles.

MY FAVOURITE CHILDREN’S BOOK IS Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak.

MY FAVOURITE ARTISTS INCLUDE Vicki Lee, Daimon Downey and Sarah Ellen. I collect art that my clever and talented friends make.

MY GREATEST INSPIRATIONS ARE my son, my home, the landscape.

MY GREATEST PASSIONS ARE fashion and music. And people — I love people.

ONE RECIPE I AM FAMOUS FOR IS baked dukkah chicken with lemon, garlic and fresh coriander with a side of coconut kumara mash.

MY SECRET KITCHEN INGREDIENT IS sriracha mayo.

I CAN’T START THE DAY WITHOUT two boiled eggs with sriracha mayo.

ONE PIECE OF ADVICE I WOULD GIVE TO MY 20-YEAR-OLD SELF IS to say yes, be curious and don’t plan too far ahead. Feel your way, stick to your gut, and be a sponge for everything happening around you.

IF I COULD GO BACK IN TIME TO REVISIT A PARTICULAR ERA IT WOULD BE the ’90s and 2000s. They were a really fun and free time. I would love to go back there for a moment to feel that young irresponsibility just one more time.

 

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