Dion Lee knows about fashion — that much is fact. As one of Australia’s best designer exports, Lee has gone from humble beginnings at Sydney Fashion Week to building an empire and basing himself out of New York, dressing celebrities, appearing in magazines around the world and crafting collections that gain critical praise every season.
But despite his global reach and success, Lee hasn’t forgotten his roots. Celebrating Wool Week in 2019 (with David Jones), Lee knows that one of Australia’s best assets is our wool, of which he —and designers all over the world — use as part of their clothes year-round.
“It’s a great opportunity to raise awareness of how important wool is for so many designers and to really talk about the versatility of wool and how much it really is an intrinsic part of the fashion industry,” he says of the dedicated week, which celebrates Aussie wool in all its forms.
So what does Lee look for in the perfect knit? As Lee’s own designs will admit, it’s all about the construction.
“You want it to have a point of difference and for it to be quite classic and something that has a level of participation. Then there’s also the knit itself [and] for it to really have a nice amount of structure and drape and breathability,” he told us over the phone.
As for the hero product, Lee is adamant that turtlenecks can always work, no matter what.
“I am always in support of a turtleneck for winter and it’s definitely something that you’ll always see a version of within our collections. This coming season we have a few Merino turtleneck styles in the collection.”
Coming from our seasonally temperate conditions in Australia, Lee says he’s learnt a lot by basing himself in New York — most specifically when it comes to dressing for the seasons.
“I think in Australia we don’t really have that really strong distinction in terms of the change of seasons. In the US, and in anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere, you really do feel that shift in your wardrobe and how you dress. I think in Australia it’s much more gradual and there’s a lot more twelve month trans-seasonal dressing,” he says.
As for what he misses most about home; it’s all about the beach, of course.
“I miss being able to go for a swim in the morning and that connection with nature. That’s definitely something I miss in the very urban landscape of New York. Definitely something don’t take it for granted.”