• Featured Brands: P.E Nation

    Activewear with a throwback attitude: discover the Australian-designed P.E Nation and get to know what inspires the brand in our visit to their Sydney studio.
    Photos by Kara Riley

    You are both industry veterans — for those readers new to your work can you catch us up to speed on what you were doing before this?
    Pip:  My career in fashion began at ksubi and I was there for five years doing PR before womenswear design. I then moved over to sass & bide as Senior Creative and Accessories Designer for four years. In 2013,  I was appointed Design Director of General Pants Co, a role I still juggle with P.E Nation now.

    Claire: My fashion career started in the design team at Topshop in the UK and I was there for two years. Then I started a denim brand called Maise and four years after that, I became the Senior Designer at sass & bide. 

    What’s your elevator pitch for P.E Nation? And where did the name originate?
    Claire: P.E Nation is an active-meets-street label that inspires women to be strong, confident, fit, and to have fun. Born from our own active lifestyles we combine technical qualities with retro inspired designs and luxe streetwear for an everyday urban lifestyle.

    Pip: P.E as we like to call it for short, was almost too obvious a name: Physical Education & Pip Edwards! My namesake initials couldn't be more perfect and spot on.

    With all the “athleisure” names cropping up right now what do you see setting P.E Nation apart? What are some of your favorite ways to style the garments?
    Pip: P.E Nation has a distinct tomboyish and retro feel. It is design driven and its vision is derived from current global fashion trends. It's confident, colorful, and stands on its own with its unique personality. It draws on authentic 90s street style but with a modern edge and really has been designed so that you can wear your activewear all day, without feeling like you are going to training. It's fashionable, functional, and comfortable — truly multi faceted, just like the P.E woman. 

    We love to mix P.E in with denim and trainers or for an unexpected edge, teaming an oversized P.E jacket with a skirt or leather.

    Can you walk us through your design process?
    Pip: Claire and I spend entire days on design where we determine print direction, color palette, and collate all inspiration (from music to artists, to editorials, blogs and runway as well as a combining our own sense of style) to create a range that ideally we want to wear. Claire does all of the tech and I create all of the content. We literally have the most perfect working synergy.

    What are some of the garments UO will be carrying that you’re most excited about — can you share any backstories behind particular pieces?
    Claire: The Easy Windbreaker Jacket is our absolutely favorite and it will be a keeper years for now. It's a classic P.E style and vibe and it was actually the basis of the entire collection. Colorblocking, strong lines and oversized silhouettes pretty much sum up P.E... and this jacket has all of those aesthetics rolled into one, plus it's reversible.

    What are some of the biggest challenges that come with running the brand?
    Pip: Growth is of course an aspiration but also a challenge: the speed with which we have grown was certainly not anticipated. We have lots of systems and checks in place as well as a stronger, more efficient back end to support the future!

    What’s next for you?
    Claire: Collabs! We are also venturing into swim, footwear, accessories, and denim. We are truly aspiring to create a full range of active-meets-streetwear for all occasions.

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