Australians were doing athleisure before it was cool. If you didn’t spend every weekend playing backyard cricket when you were a kid, that’s probably because you were busy learning to surf (or just soaking up the sun) at the beach. It is fitting then, that a label dedicated to physical activity just took out the nation’s most prestigious fashion award.
P.E Nation are the winners of this year’s National Designer Award – the coveted prize for emerging Australian designers that is presented annually by David Jones. The announcement was made at the Bourke Street, Melbourne store this week, kicking off the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival (VAMFF) in style.
P.E Nation co-founders and co-creative directors Pip Edwards and Claire Tregoning were beyond excited about the win.
“It’s a huge honour to win this award. The opportunities it will give us are substantial and we hope to further push our growing brand into the US market,” Tregoning said.
“The past year has been about business growth,” Edwards added. “Going from a start-up to a fully-fledged business. Winning this award will allow us to continue this momentum and widen our customer base across the world.”
Now in its 22nd year, the award has helped kickstart the careers of iconic Australian labels like Dion Lee and Romance Was Born. At this year’s competition, P.E Nation more than earned its place alongside these now household names.
A panel of judges lead by VAMFF CEO Graeme Lewsey assessed the brand based on six categories – creative design, fashion innovation, manufacturing standards, unique style, sustainability and the potential to contribute to the growth of Australian fashion – and found that they excelled in every single area, especially the potential for growth.
“The tenacity, talent and hard work demonstrated by Pip and Claire shone through. The designers have demonstrated a captivating journey to P.E Nation’s current emerging position in the Australian fashion landscape, and its capability and capacity internationally is extraordinary, well deserved and definitely worth celebrating,” Lewsey said.
Watch the final round judging highlights
At just two years of age, P.E Nation’s signature colour blocked activewear has already made waves overseas thanks to endorsements from tastemakers like Kylie Jenner and Bella Hadid. The National Design Award prize pack will equip it with the funds it needs to keep expanding its business at home and abroad and we couldn’t think of a better brand to represent Australia in the international sport of fashion.
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