"A very personal collection" says Ximon Lee.
The Jury of H&M Design Award 2015.
XIMON LEE WINS THE 2015 H&M DESIGN AWARD
24-year-old Ximon Lee is the winner of H&M Design Award 2015 – and the first menswear designer to receive the award.
Today, Ximon Lee, a graduate from Parsons in New York, showed his winning collection at Stockholm Fashion Week.
In addition to the show, Ximon Lee has won €50,000 and the chance to develop pieces from his collection to be sold at selected H&M stores and online later this autumn. Ximon Lee was selected by an international jury (amongst them singer Lily Allen, Vogue fashion director Lucinda Chambers and photographer Tommy Ton) in London.
“I think he is an incredibly accomplished designer. He had everything; his research was beautiful, the fabric development was really accomplished and his design was good,” says Luella Bartley, Design Director of Marc by Marc Jacobs and member of the jury.
Ximon Lee was raised in Hong Kong, but born in a border town between Siberia and Manchuria. His own childhood played an important part in his winning collection.
– I made a decision to travel to Russia after watching the documentary Children of Leningradsky. It reminds me so much about my childhood and my birth town. I started collecting images and videos about these homeless children, post- Soviet scenes, and finally decided to fly Russia to put together my moodboard for this graduate collection. To be able to be in the real setting encouraged me to develop this story. Children of Leningradsky is a very personal collection and every layer reveals something about my childhood.
HOW IS IT VISIBLE IN THE COLLECTION?
”The grey Soviet architectures, abandoned playgrounds and colourless, long winters in the documentary Children of Leningradsky gave rise to a deep nostalgia of vivid childhood memories. I found something really bitter but fascinating about these years when I was free and ignorant in this autistic northern town. Similar scenes in the documentary are where these homeless children near Leningradsky station run in the wintery streets in oversized, layered and randomly styled clothes. I won’t forget the way that these homeless children dress and style themselves in picked-up clothes from trash. There is something about this group of children that I deeply admire from my heart.”
TELL US ABOUT THE MATERIALS YOU USED.
”Nothing is really unconventional in the collection. I didn't invent anything new but I treated ordinary materials differently. I used sandwiched denims, knits, and trash bags in this collection. Most hard wears are industrial parts or found metal objects. Indigo denims are bleached into different shades of blue. Trash bags are heated and treated into textural vinyl. This collection is a juxtaposition of soft and hard; organic and synthetic materials.”
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
”Control. It's really hard to control these materials. Since both denim bleaching and plastic melting happen so fast during the making, it's difficult to control. Some effects just happened naturally while some effects are achieved through good control. The right amount of bleach, the right amount of time and of course the right preparations.”
NOW YOU HAVE THE CHANCE TO DEVELOP SOME PIECES TO BE SOLD AT H&M.
”H&M is about diversity and versatility. H&M has done amazing collaborations with designers and translated their designs to the H&M market. My collection is very experimental, but I believe most pieces in the collection work with the existing urban customer groups. Some of the denim shirt jackets, worn under the long coat, could be both everyday menswear and womenswear. I'm thrilled to see my capsule in different markets and how people wear them.”
YOU INTERNED AT BOTH CALVIN KLEIN AND PHILLIP LIM, WHAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU LEARNT?
”Internships at both houses gave me confidence. The most important thing I learnt so far is to listen. As young designers, we all have egos and strong voices, but it's really important to listen.”
WHAT DOES THIS AWARD MEAN TO YOU?
”Winning H&M Design Award means a lot to me and my career. To have a full collection showing on the runway right after graduation is precious. This is probably every designer’s dream. The financial part of the award also helped me push my collection to a higher level. It is very difficult to begin your career without financial support.”
WHAT IS NEXT FOR XIMON LEE?
”Continue to create better works and to collaborate with different artists. I don't really plan year by year since things change so fast in the industry. But I need to make the best out of today.”
HOW WOULD YOU FINISH THIS SENTENCE:
”I WISH MEN’S FASHION WAS MORE…”
”You can see my wish in this collection.”