The It-Girl-Approved Designer Behind The Genderless Corset Trend
were a signature for Dion Lee long before the Bridgerton
-induced hype. The Australian designer’s USP is comfort: he makes the formidable prospect of squeezing into a bustier appealing, and his corsets are “designed for bodies rather than gender profiles”, as he tells Vogue.
Lee formerly worked within the parameters of womenswear, but made a natural shift to unisex several seasons ago. Customers flock for his rave-ready cargo trousers and don’t-mess-with-me leather jackets, but it’s his corsets that get fashion fiends the most excited.
Fascinated by construction and deconstruction in a Margiela kind of way, Lee forged the basic design of a tank top, a typically “masculine” staple, with the structural boning of a corset, a “feminine” garment, offering a hybrid piece that’s surprisingly wearable. “The combination of those [masculine and feminine] languages was something that really did open up how genderless a corset could be,” he says. “Taking the formality and construction of a corset but then giving it the utility and daily wearability of a tank top is something people really responded to.”
And while Lee’s corsets are designed to sculpt the body – “I love the internal framework that you don’t even necessarily see” – they’re made to be seen rather than hidden away, whether paired with low-slung pants or worn with a naked dress underneath (consult the autumn/winter 2022 collection for inspo
). His biggest surprise? “How the male customer has approached the silhouette,” he muses. “The corset has really encouraged a customer to experiment with something that really challenges the perception of menswear right now.” (Vogue
How will overturning abortion rights affect the apparel sector?
On Friday 24 June, the US Supreme Court overturned its 50-year-old Roe v Wade decision which means millions of US women will lose the constitutional right to have an abortion and apparel sector consultant Bob Antoshak believes it will have a ripple effect on the entire apparel sector.
Antoshak explains the announcement marks a divisive turning point in American history, and leaves open the possibility of future weakening of rights, especially for marginalised groups such as women, people of colour, the LGBTQ+ community and interracial couples.
He says: “The ruling striking down the original decision on Roe v. Wade has taken a highly charged issue and exposed it to plutonium, super-charging an already intense cultural battle. Moreover, the decision underscores the deepening cultural divide in the United States.”
Antoshak is quick to highlight this divide does not operate in a vacuum, as this news on abortion rights directly affects the apparel and fashion sector.
He says: “From designers in New York to women working on sewing machines in Bangladesh. Our industry, perhaps the world’s largest, comprises many creative and hardworking women and men of all colours and backgrounds. The Supreme Court ruling compels our industry to further support the rights of people worldwide.”
Dr Sheng Lu, associate professor of fashion and apparel studies at the University of Delaware adds studies show consumers today, especially younger consumers increasingly expect fashion brands to incorporate social causes into their businesses.
He says: “In other words, besides high-quality goods and services, consumers want to link their brand loyalty with companies’ demonstrated commitment and positive impacts on the planet, society, and the community. This explains why it has become common for fashion companies to take a public stand on social and political issues.”
The US Fashion Industry Association’s President Julia Hughes tells Just Style exclusively: “Even though the leaked draft document meant everyone had an idea of what the ruling would say, most companies are still looking at the impact, especially on their workforce.” (Read More on Just Style