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Dion Lee wins LMFF Designer Award

Mar '10
Young fashion design wizard Dion Lee has won the L'Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival Designer Award presented by Woolmark, supported by Vogue.

With impeccably cut womenswear and an emerging global following, Dion Lee has reinforced his position as Australia's newest rising fashion star.

At only 24 and with just four finished collections to his fast growing reputation, the Sydney based designer won against a superb field of finalists, including Gary Bigeni, Dhini, Therese Rawsthorne, Konstantina Mittas, Lui Hon and Gail Sorronda.

'It was an extremely difficult decision to make given the abundance of talent and innovation shown. Dion Lee demonstrates a unique balance of precision tailoring and design ingenuity. He has the potential to be Australia's biggest design export,' L'Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival Director, Karen Webster said.

Dion Lee has a strong affinity with Australian Merino wool as his designs frequently demonstrate how new wool is the ideal natural fibre for all seasons and all occasions. The result is his highly conceptual and intelligent women's wear that has a strong philosophy of functionality and wearability.

By winning the award, Dion Lee will receive assistance from Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) to reach new heights. His creative and technical genius, coupled with AWI's support in implementing exciting wool and wool blend textiles is expected to lead to cutting edge garments worthy of international acclaim.

'Wool is a pleasure to work with. I love the light bouncy handle to suiting wool and it sews and presses so perfectly. There is no better fibre to tailor with. From a design perspective wool allows you to build sculptural shapes, whilst moulding beautifully against the body. Garments made with wool become classic pieces that stand the test of time,' he said.

Presented by Woolmark and supported by Vogue, the 2010 L'Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival Designer Award involves a $10,000 cash prize plus an AWI-hosted trip to either the Pitti Filati fashion fair in Florence, or the Première Vision trade event in Paris with introductions to AWI's global supply chain network of spinners, knitters and mills.

AWI which owns the Woolmark brand on behalf of the Australian wool industry presented the award to Dion Lee at a special event at Melbourne's Docklands in front of a gathering of 350 guests including the fashion industry, woolgrowers, designers, processors and retailers on Tuesday 16 March 2010.

By winning this award, Dion Lee will have the opportunity to represent Australia in a global Woolmark design competition involving the best emerging design talent from around the world. Following on from the prestigious Project Protégé and Woolmark Prize awards, the Woolmark Emerging Designer Award will seek out and honour talented designers across the globe in New York, Paris, Milan, Shanghai and Tokyo.

AWI fashion manager Scarlet Hill said Woolmark was proud to continue to support the very best Australian designers and in doing so help educate future consumers about wool.

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