Australian designer Dion Lee is relatively new to the fashion world (his first solo show was in 2009) but has already made plenty of waves. His structured, sculptural designs have caught the attention of , and an aspiring couturier (and would-be politician) by the name of Kanye West. The award-winning designer will return to New York Fashion Week to premiere his new line at MADE after flying straight in from his hometown of Sydney. Read on to find out about his collection, his favorite spots in the Lower East Side and what it was like to work with a future presidential candidate.
I grew up south of Sydney and studied fashion design at the Sydney Institute of Technology, and that's really where I started my brand.
Around 23, 24. My first collection that I showed commercially was my graduate collection, so I started out of college and evolved from there.
I suppose I'm attracted to design that's quite technical. I'm very interested in the construction of clothing and how pieces go together. I try to put clothes together that have a sense of ease and are relaxed in aesthetic—kind of a combination of the two elements.
It's a little warmer in tone and softness, I suppose. I think there's still that signature element of different manipulations of fabric, but in a way that has a more earthy, raw, primal feel to it.
I find that collections are often a reaction to the previous collection. I'm inspired by the process of making clothes and often draw from the construction process. I really love seeing how things are made and the process behind the construction of clothes, and use those technical elements to inform the aesthetic.
I first started showing in Sydney, and I think it's very different from showing in New York. Sydney is a much smaller industry and the pace is very different to New York. Other cities don't have the same overlap in terms of scheduling. So there's a much different pace to the shows and castings and how everything runs.
Both have their own aesthetic. Sydney has such an outdoor culture, and it's so close to the beaches. I think that very much influences how people dress; there's a very relaxed attitude. But in many ways I think there are a lot of parallels to New York and the urban lifestyle here, like the way in which people put clothes together in a very informal way. I think there's that kind of approach to style that is quite effortless.
It was cool. It all happened very organically. He came to visit my studio through a friend who was working with him and offered to design some shoes for the collection I was working on at the time. I showed it in London the following season, and he came on to the show and was really supportive. He's a very passionate person and has a great [understanding] of music and design and fashion.
Dion Lee's spring 2016 runway show takes place at 11am on Saturday, September 12, at Milk Studios.