Co-founder and Creative Director of Australian fashion label Aje, Edwina Forest, shares her ultimate guide to exploring Sydney like a local.

Bridging the gap between the city and the beach, Sydney-based label, Aje, was founded in 2008 by designers and best pals Adrian Norris and Edwina Forest. Designs draw from the dusty colours of the Australian coast and urban spaces, incorporating handcrafted elements – think: embroidery, weaving or painting – which reflect the rugged beauty of the country’s natural landscapes.

The brand is committed to the sustainability of artisanal techniques, so it’s no wonder that Creative Director and co-founder Edwina Forest lists a weekend in Braidwood, a beautiful rural artist community just beyond the city, as her ultimate weekend escape…

The best day of the week to arrive in Sydney is…

A Friday, just in time for the weekend.

What’s the best way to explore the city?

In a Mercedes-Benz convertible – this way you can explore the entire city with the wind in your hair and the sunshine on your face.

Where’s the best place to wake up?

The Old Clare Hotel is a special favourite of mine. It evokes a beautiful sense of nostalgia with its old-world charm.

What’s the city’s dress code?

I think Sydney owns the quintessential resort style – a melange of easy everyday essentials mixed back with statement pieces for an effortlessly cool look that can take you from the beach, to work, back to the beach, then to dinner.

What key pieces do you always pack when travelling?

I always make sure to pack a longline blazer, an oversized smock dress, a white man-style shirt, leather mini skirt and an array of sunglasses, earrings and shoes.

How would you define your brand?

Aje is an Australian fashion house dedicated to raw beauty, tough femininity and effortless cool.

Do your surroundings impact your design?

I’m very much influenced by my surroundings both natural and otherwise. The vast Australian landscape with all its uniqueness and wonder is an ever-present source of inspiration across all of our collections.

Sydney’s coolest neighbourhoods worth exploring…

For me, it would be my local stomping ground of Elizabeth Bay and Potts Point.

One misconception about Sydney is…

That it’s slow paced – and that kangaroos roam freely in the city.

The best beaches in the city…

Kutti Beach in Vaucluse is a personal favourite of mine, and Camp Cove in Sydney Harbourside where there is also an adorable little Israeli café for beachside nourishment.

Where should we head on a Saturday morning?

Fratelli Paradiso in Potts Point for an early breakfast, followed by a stroll through the nearby Kings Cross Farmers Market in Fitzroy Gardens.

Where can we do an early morning workout?

I love to start my days with some relaxing yoga and meditation from my personal sanctuary at home or to take a stroll through the beautiful harbourside Rushcutters Bay Park nearby. The beachfront walk from Bondi to Bronte is also a must, followed by a dip in the ocean pool at either end.

For Sunday brunch book a table at…

You really can’t go past Bills for brunch in any one of its three Sydney locations; it’s a longstanding Sydney institution.

Where should we go for a low-key lunch?

Barbetta is the perfect low-key lunch spot, situated in the heart of Paddington.

Other food spots we should try…

Sean’s Panaroma in North Bondi is a personal favourite, closely followed by Ester in Chippendale and Alberto’s Lounge Paddington.

Where should we go for a big night out in Sydney?

The bar at Restaurant Hubert is the perfect late-night spot.

Where should we head post-party?

Post-party you’ll find me at home with my love and friends, enjoying a little nightcap.

Great day trips include…

A weekend drive to Palm Beach, with a long lunch stop at Bert’s Bar & Brasserie for oysters and prosecco.

One place only locals know about is…

Dear Sainte Éloise in Potts Point – a real local hidden gem.

A great out-of-town option is…

A weekend away in Braidwood, a beautiful rural artist community. My husband Felix Forest and I have a property here and it is the perfect escape to spend some much needed grounding time nestled in nature.

A book to read before we go?

Perfect Health by Deepak Chopra. Sydney is all about health and fitness, so it’s important to look and feel the part before you arrive.

What one thing should we bring back as a souvenir?

An Akubra hat.

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City Guide: Sydney

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