Dion Lee is the newest member to join the list of recipients of the prestigious Australian Fashion Laureate. The New York-based Australian was given the award at a gala dinner for 300 at Sydney’s Barangaroo Cutaway venue this past Thursday evening.
Lee has become the youngest ever to be named the Laureate, Lee is currently 32, which is now going onto its 10th year. The award recognizes those with outstanding industry achievements. Previous recipients include the likes of designer Akira Isogawa, Toni Maticevski, and the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia founder Simon Lock.
The Laureate is the newest addition to a collection of awards for Lee, who launched his own business back in 2018, after graduating from Sydney’s Fashion Design Studio and quickly growing a base of followers for his deconstructed tailoring and his signatures dresses that include complex surface treatments.
A sale of a crucial stake in the business of the Sydney-based Cue Clothing Co. back in 2013 allowed the designer to rapidly expand his retail in Australia, where he controls eight stand-alone stores, in addition to his e-commerce and concessions that lay within the David Jones department store chain.
“[The Laureate] is a bit of a landmark moment for me — knowing that it is voted by your peers,” said Lee, who recently has become a New York Fashion Week runway regular and has over 70 global wholesale stockholders.
“It has been a really surreal journey and not a journey without its ups and downs in the past few years. I feel really lucky for my brand to have been supported by our industry from such an early age,” he continues.
The Australian Fashion Laureate is decided by a panel of 50 members which is managed by IMG Fashion, the Australian Fashion Laureate Awards also includes five other smaller prizes.
Zimmermann was named the 2017 Best Australian Women’s Wear Designer, while Jac + Jack was named the Best Australian Men’s Wear Designer. Harrolds won Best Australian Retailer, P.E. Nation being named the Etihad Airways Emerging Talent Award, and Dinosaur Designs getting the inaugural Best Australian Accessories Designer award.
In honor of the event’s anniversary, Sydney’s Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences will host a retrospective exhibition of works from all the 10 Laureates that will be called, “Catalysts and Creators: The 10th Australian Fashion Laureate”. The exhibition will run from November 10th through March 11th.
Before the kick off at the museum, there will be an industry panel discussion program, it will include speakers like Australian model Gemma Ward, Collette Dinnigan and Margaret Zhang.