Renowned Australian fashion designer Dion Lee is a seemingly indomitable force. In just three years and seven collections, 26-year-old Lee has already won a bevy of Australia’s most prestigious fashion awards – the most recent of which was the International Woolmark Prize Australia. Lee will compete against the other regional Woolmark Prize winners for the top award during London Fashion Week 2013.
“I am extremely excited to be the Australian winner of the International Woolmark Prize, especially being that Woolmark is an Australian brand with significant heritage within the industry and the origins of the world’s finest wool. I am really looking forward to working further with Woolmark and presenting a new collection at London Fashion week February 2013 and showing alongside some of the most important designers in the world,” said Lee.
Dion Lee recently took time out of his busy schedule to talk to ARTINFO AUSTRALIA about the Woolmark Prize and his plans for 2013.
What was the inspiration for your Woolmark International Prize entry?
The inspiration for the collection was to bring together references that I felt expressed my brand to a new audience, while also looking at the context of representing Australia.
I have focused on using wool innovation to create sculptural shapes, bespoke textiles and contemporary tailoring.
Does the collection reflect your Australian background?
This country has a rich cultural history when it comes to the wool industry and how that supported the growth of the nation.
It has been fun to experiment with expressing a contemporary Australian identity, in my own way.
What can fans expect from the Dion Lee studio in 2013?
I am currently working on a Northern Hemisphere Fall 13 collection, while designing costumes for the Sydney Dance Comany's new production Emergence, which will open in early March. We have many exciting projects in the pipeline towards the end of the year, which extend the brand beyond the context of clothing.
What features of the collection reflect the uniquely Australian identity?
I have referenced the Australian stockman style hat, the “akubra” and abstracted this into sculptural garments that incorporate millinery.
These sail like shapes take reference from Jorn Utzon's concept design for the Sydney Opera House, the dissection of a circle.
I have also used Max Dupain's photographs of the Sydney Opera House construction site as references.
See a video of Dion Lee's International Woolmark Prize Australia entry below