Founded in 2008 by best friends Edwina Forest and Adrian Norris, Aje is a contemporary Sydney-based fashion label that is dedicated to rugged beauty, tough femininity and effortless cool and was instrumental during the pioneering stage of Australia’s quintessential coast-to-city style. Aje’s signature collection can be described as a curated mix of easygoing essentials and statement special-occasion pieces crafted with the utmost attention to a luxurious sensibility. Importantly, and refreshingly, Forest and Norris refuse to chase trends. As a matter of fact, the duo has purposefully designed against trends in order to ensure a uniqueness and timelessness for each and every piece, thus resulting in garments that are intended to be worn over and over, season to season and to be embraced and appreciated by all age groups. Forest’s and Norris’ coveted creations reflect their personal learning journeys and general backgrounds. For example, Adrian’s training at the acclaimed Venetian art school Liceo Artistico Venezia, Edwina’s experience at leading fashion magazine ‘RUSSH’ and the pair’s like-mindedness resulting from a mutual love of the arts, have culminated in seasonal collections which celebrate an intrinsic sense of duality. This duality balances toughness with femininity, untamed volume with structure and signature statement pieces with uncomplicated essentials. A closer look at the Aje design studio is necessary to even remotely fathom the degree of meticulousness and labour-intensive attention to detail which comprise the label’s products.

The core of the design process is formed by a hand-crafted heritage which stems from an unwavering commitment to artisanal sensibilities. The design quality foundation includes traditional techniques and craftsmanship – hand-painted prints, natural fabrics and raw-edged finishes, to name but a few. Intricate sketches commence the design process. From these sketches, ornate toiles, or mock-up models of garments, are created and then reviewed. Upon the conclusion of the painstaking review process, the final pieces are fabricated with a high degree of love and care. Hand-painted prints are brought to life via water colour or acrylic on canvas, and these prints are translated into digital formats. Adding more layers of sophistication to the Aje design process is an assortment of extraordinary details, including hand-casted hardware, contrast stitching, logo detailing, intricate beading and other modes of “tactile finishes”. In the end, these artisanal sensibilities become the soul, if you will, of the very seasonal collections, themselves. Forest and Norris are infinitely curious, so the idea of experimentation is important and inspires them to constantly play with the use of volume and proportion, tailoring and fabrication. Ultimately, this experimentation honours the brand’s heritage and naturally moves it forward, encouraging it to evolve.

For clients exploring their individual sense of style, Aje’s team of stylists across its Australian and New Zealand boutiques provides a specialised service. It is a one-on-one personalised service which helps customers navigate Aje’s extensive range of apparel, accessories and jewellery so as to realise a thoughtful and carefully customised style. This same degree of care and attention is also applied to considerations of diversity, inclusion and equality, environmental impact, animal protection and welfare and responsible sourcing and procurement. With its head office located on Gadigal land, Aje pays its respects to the First Nation Elders of past, present and future and acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which it lives, works and learns. Any discussions of sustainability are led by all indigenous cultures around the world but particularly by Aboriginal Australians, whose deep connection to Land contains 65,000 years’ worth of wisdom. Specifically, working with Indigenous leader and mentor Yvonne Weldon, Chairperson of the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council and proud Wiradjuri woman, the team at Aje has been able to connect with a genuine understanding of local community and culture and has benefitted greatly from this exchange. Equipped with the knowledge resulting from such a rich cultural exchange, Aje continues to successfully minimise its negative impact on earth and maximise its positive impact on humanity. Aje’s Armadale boutique can be found at 1045 High Street, Armadale.  

Lifestyle & Design

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