Pillowtalk: Angie Pai

Melbourne designer and artist Angie Pai spends a dreamy afternoon with us in August, warding off the last of the winter crisp with warm tea and heart-warming stories. She’s had a busy twelve months, with the launch of her highly-anticipated label P A I and creating a stage installation for Kelela at the Sugar Mountain Festival as highlights. She tells us about the influential people in her life who helped her grow up confident and creative, and inspires us with some practical advice on accomplishing our own dreams.

What are your morning rituals to help you get creative for the day?
I find it hard to work in a messy environment, so I guess my creative ritual for the day is cleaning the space and getting into the zone that way - pretty boring stuff haha. During busy periods, when it’s mandatory to get up early (for work, or for things that require responsibility), I can snap into work mode pretty quickly. When I can work to my own hours, things get a bit laissez faire. Lots of Earl Grey, lots of soy milk, muesli & toast a plenty, plus the indulgent sleep in here and there.

Your mum introduced you to art - what kind of activities did you do together?
Mum always went out of her way to take us to museums and enrol us in creative classes. If we took interest in a particular medium or subject, Mum and Dad would go to great lengths to make sure they nurtured that. It's kind of funny actually, I think Mum really struggled academically when she was younger so she's always been okay with me failing maths and doing well in creative subjects. We bonded over that a lot.

It's so amazing that you have this great relationship with your Momma. Whats the best advice that your she’s given you?
She's the best person I know, the bravest person I know, and also the most ridiculous person I know. Sometimes I can't believe someone with so much knowledge can be so equally reckless and foolish. 

I had a pretty hard time when I first came to Australia. It took me a few years to get a grasp of the English language, and was picked on a bit back then. I remember coming home one day, upset about something that had happened at school. I could tell she was heartbroken when I told her I was bullied for not speaking English. She had a big think and said with big teary eyes, “Don't get angry Angie ! Get funny! And secretly get smart if you can ! Everyone likes a funny !" 

That's probably best advice she's ever given me, because it describes her as a person so perfectly. Her defence to anything negative has always been to be as kind as possible. I don't know how it would be possible for anyone to be a better mother. 

You have a fashion brand called P A I and we love it! What tips do you have for people out there who want to start their fashion brand? Where should they start?
Haha thank you ! P A I was definitely a passion project, and 100% not possible without my partner in crime Adrian Bressanutti (who had an incredible line of his own prior). 

It can be very difficult, and if you're working on it with someone, the most important tip I have is to work on your communication. And to remember to be kind to one another. I'm a pretty impulsive person and often regretted being reckless and abrupt, which meant Adrian really had a handful to deal with haha (sorry Adrian)! 

My best advice would be to make sure you surround yourself with, or work with, people who inspire you and motivate you. Because there will be times when it gets too hard, and they are the people who will get you through. Also start with a bit of cash (for potato cakes above all else)!  

You also designed a stage for Sugar Mountain this year and Kalela performed in front of your artwork! How would you describe that? 

I wailed like a little baby ! I’m very grateful. 

Whats on high rotation on your iPod right now?
James Blake "The colour in Anything", Four Tet & Bonobo.

The last gig you saw?
It was a Good Manners gig at 24 Moons! I hustled the bartender for a cup of peppermint tea and sipped it while watching Couture & Christopher Port. It was bliss.  Why isn't tea at gigs more of a thing?!

Do you have a sleeping habit?
Yes, a terrible one. Falling asleep to Youtube overdose. 

Photography // James Robinson
Angie's Suku pick: Okinawa Pijama set and Origami Quilt Cover