Effortless yet driven for change, we sat down with Edwina Forest, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Australian design powerhouse Aje, to learn about her journey, creative process and how she maintains balance through rituals...
We’re so excited to learn more about you and your journey to where you are today?
The inception of Aje started after I had just finished university in Queensland, and it was the summer before I moved to Sydney to begin an internship with Russh Magazine. I was working in a Brisbane Boutique when I met Adrian, who I thought was a lost Norwegian tourist. We formed an instantaneous creative connection, becoming lifelong friends. When Adrian asked me to help him create a unique brand to sell in his store, Aje (Adrian joins Edwina) was born.
When we started Aje, we were two kids with a dream. Bound by a mutual appreciation of the arts, it became our vision to bridge the gap between coastal and urban style. We had seen an opportunity to change the way people dress between their weekend beach life and city lifestyle, and we centred Aje around our ability to produce collections utilising traditional artisanal techniques, craftsmanship, luxurious sensual fabrications and quality of design.
From a single store in Noosa and workshop in Bali, to now 22 stores across Australia and NZ, a website that serves 77 countries, alongside being stocked in the world’s leading fashion majors including: Galeries Lafayette, Lane Crawford, Saks, Matches and Browns; it has been an incredible journey so far.
As the Co-Founder & Creative Director of AJE, tell us about what a typical day looks like for you?
Every day is different. It seems redundant to say, yet true. I do my best to meditate every morning, however with my daughter Freïa this isn’t always possible. I’m an early riser, so I like to make myself an Almond Chai Masala Tea or an Earl Grey then get on top of my emails as soon as possible to leave space for creative thinking throughout the day.
During a typical work day, I chat to the Aje teams in Design, PR, Marketing and beyond about everything from collection inspiration, to fabrications to table settings.
My evening routine usually involves sitting down for dinner with my husband Felix or others I love over a delicious meal, sometimes with a glass of natural wine. My favourite Sydney restaurants for an evening out include Dear Sainte Eloise, Regazzi or 10 William.
And your creative process, what drives and sustains your creativity?
I always come back to raw beauty, blending the tough with feminine, the perfect and imperfect. It’s all of these contrasts and contradictions which are at the heart of the Aje brand.
At the very heart of our vision at Aje has always remained our customer. An innate tastemaker and woman of substance. She knows her style, dresses for herself and isn’t afraid to stand out against trends. She is in our minds constantly, and we continue to design for her.
What are your key principles to balancing business and your own rituals?
I’m a big believer in balance, for myself and the entire Aje family who are all incredibly driven and inspiring individuals.
To keep evolving, we welcome challenges that inspire us to push our creativity through design and storytelling. There’s a nurturing culture to our Aje team, that supports the balance of striving for our best while keeping a considered and holistic approach to everything we do.
Sustainability is important to us, so our Aje Aware principles come into play at every step of our decision making.
Tell us about your AJE office, your inspiration for this space and why you choose this interior style?
Our Aje HQ in Surry Hills, once home to Porteno, was reimagined by THOSE Architects into a space that feels truly reflective of our brand DNA. With a beautiful central showroom which is lit by a big central glass atrium, raw travertine and walls rendered in the same way as our stores and curved sculptural lines throughout, the Aje handwriting is embodied in this space.
Explore our Stevie Vase in Umber and Lava & Bone, styled by Edwina.