Home » Who’s mad enough to reinvent a brand in a downturn? Only Pip Edwards

Who’s mad enough to reinvent a brand in a downturn? Only Pip Edwards

Change of pace … P.E Nation’s bold aesthetic on show at its debut fashion week show in 2016.Credit: Getty

“Obviously, there was tremendous growth [in the pandemic] but also pressure and expansion and, with that, there are a lot of things that can unravel.”

Loading

Indeed, it hasn’t been the easiest six months for the brand, notwithstanding Greaves’ departure. In March, P.E Nation achieved B Corp status, an internationally recognised benchmark for sustainability, after a two-year process.

That same month, initial plans to relaunch the brand for a consumer audience at the Melbourne Fashion Festival (in contrast, Australian Fashion Week is mostly an invitation-only event) were ultimately deferred.

But Edwards is putting her energy into the new-look P.E, which will finally take shape for the consumer following Tuesday’s runway. Gone are the high-contrast, logo-saturated prints to be replaced with layered looks and a much more muted colour palette.

“It’s based in activewear, but it’s the layering pieces that then make it ‘fashion’ – and that’s where it’s going to resonate because it’s speaking to how we are living our lives,” Edwards says.

A model wearing P.E Nation at the Melbourne Fashion Festival, where plans to relaunch the brand were ultimately deferred.

A model wearing P.E Nation at the Melbourne Fashion Festival, where plans to relaunch the brand were ultimately deferred.Credit: Getty Images

“It’s not loud or bold, it’s easy to wear … it’s down to the styling [and] the way you wear it, that energy doesn’t change.”

So, is this P.E Nation’s take on quiet luxury?

The new P.E Nation look is more muted and focused on layering.

The new P.E Nation look is more muted and focused on layering.Credit: James Brickwood

“The logo play is still there, but it’s not as big, [or] in your face,” Edwards says. “[The goal is] to have a more seamless wardrobe and to get more bang for your buck.”

As fashion, particularly in the mid-range, faces an incredibly challenging period, relaunching a brand at this time, and on such a big stage as fashion week, could be considered sensible – or foolish. But Edwards is typically unflappable.

“It’s a scary landscape … there’s a lot of unknowns, but the work we have done in getting to this point has been so thorough,” she says.

What is clear is that the P.E Nation’s customers, as well as Edwards’ 190,000 Instagram followers, will let her know if she’s made the right call.

As will her 17-year-old son, Justice, who has recently discovered vintage shopping and keeps Edwards tapped into Gen-Z. Motherhood, she says, is one of the many reasons she is trying to find more balance in her life.

“I have lived a fast, turbo life,” she says. “At 44, I’ve got my son to year 12, [and] I am trying to take a bit more stock. I don’t have to be at full pelt – balance is key … downtime is just as important for making progress.”

Well, maybe starting from Wednesday.

Make the most of your health, relationships, fitness and nutrition with our Live Well newsletter. Get it in your inbox every Monday.