RTT Exclusive: Interview with Dion Lee

dion lee singapore interview

On Monday at Commune Bistro, the little cafe that’s tucked in a corner at Phoenix Park was turned into a workspace for Inhabit. This is a major week for the multi-lable boutique, they are celebrating their 10th Anniversary and they’ve invited Aussie Wonder Boy Dion Lee to Singapore to showcase his Resort 2014 collection as part of the celebration.

Dion Lee is super HOT right now in the industry, a regular at London Fashion Week and also the first Australian designer to be featured in a lengthy article in American VOGUE. Do you still remember how Tommy Ton of Jak & Jil went hyper over his stunning show at the Sydney Opera House? I’m a huge fan too and super excited about being able to sit down with Dion for an interview. Check out the full conversation here:

LAILA: How did you get into fashion?

DION: It started when I was in school I was always very interested in making things, a lot of the art projects were based around clothes and it just became a natural progression. I studied in Sydney Institute of Technology.

What happened between graduating from school to setting up your own label?

I was asked to show my collection at Australian Fashion Week in 2008. And then I had business cards and from there I started selling my clothes and got supported by the industry. It was very lucky.

What’s so Australian about your design aesthetics?

There’s a big part that’s influenced by Australia, the attitude is influenced by how relaxed the culture is there. It’s about where you spend your time and the environment.

In Australia they call you the boy wonder and you’re also featured in American Vogue, do you feel any pressure now that expectations are higher?

I do, there’s always been pressure. There’s the pressure that the media puts on you and also the pressure that you put on yourself to make sure that each collection is stronger than the last.

Yes and also the fact that you’re beginning to show in London…


How many Australian designers are showing in London?

I don’t think anyone else is showing there at the moment. Willow was there for a while but I don’t know if they are showing anymore.

What kind of advice will you give to young designers who are trying to start out?

I supposed the best advice is trust your instincts. It’s also about the aesthetics of the designer and making sure that the designs are made of a very strong signature. I think it’s very important for any designer to cultivate their own aesthetics.

Singapore has been building an incubator program to help emerging designers… in Australia do young designers receive any assistance?

There are initiatives to support emerging designers to go from an emerging brand to building your own business. There’re ways that designers are supported, there’s definitely always a lot of opportunities that kind of make it easy for people.

Now that you’re showing in London already where do you see yourself heading to next?

Building a consistent presence for the brand in London and kind of grow the product line. There’re a lot of exciting things we are looking to do.

Menswear and accessories?

Yeah, and eyewear. A lot of projects are on the horizon.

What do you plan to do in Singapore?

I will be quite busy for the next few days. I will be hanging out with these guys (referring to the Inhabit team)

Where are you going to after Singapore?

A quick trip to New York, straight from Singapore. Long flight!

Who’s your favourite model now?

I don’t know! There’re a lot of Australian models that I like that Australian designers tend to work with.

Like Julia?

Yeah Julia Nobis, definitely one of my favourites. She’s pretty amazing.

How about favourite music, that you will play in your shows?

I worked with a friend of mine who’s a composer he wrote a piece of music and performed that live, it’s quite classical. His name is Nick Wales.

Inhabit is the exclusive retailer of Dion Lee, check out the store at Mandarin Gallery 390 Orchard Road Level 2.