Dana Lee | Spring/Summer 2011
Dana Lee gets men.
The Canadian-born designer has made waves in New York fashion circles for her effortlessly cool menswear collections. Lee’s clothing is designed for the the modern, fashion-forward man who won’t compromise comfort for style.
Growing up in North Vancouver, Lee wore men’s basic pieces, which explains why she designs wearable apparel focused on texture and feel rather than aesthetics. Lee says her current collection isn’t meant for the runway, but is inspired by everyday life. The collection’s backyard feel also comes from Lee’s early creative days with her brother:
As kids, Derek and I would fish for rusty nails over the backyard creek with magnets tied to the end of a shovel, and cut and fold out 3 dimensional buildings from empty wax milk cartons. This is what we did for fun. We made fun from simple things (qtd in Cultures in Between).
Lee’s first job in the fashion industry was working in a textile factory cutting samples before she interned in London. A self described tomboy, Lee says she wore men’s clothes, although she was particular about the way they fit. In her teenage years, Lee fished through army surplus stores and camping outlets searching for styles unavailable in malls or department stores.
After years of cultivating her personal style, Lee began designing. Her early A-Z collection celebrates everyday things. It’s no-nonsense, straight-to-the-point fashion. Her spring/summer 2011 collection carries through the brand’s less-is-more mantra and continues themes of simply stylish yet wearable men’s clothing.
Currently, Dana Lee is one of few female names sported by men’s garments. Lee says she feels lucky, “honored to be able to put a woman’s name on a man’s garment.” (qtd in Dazed Digital) Last year, Lee spent time in Paris and Canada, and she says her new collection reflects the resources she found in both places. She’s also inspired by Chinatown, New York, with its array of colors, textures and cheap eats. A fashion socialist, Lee prefers letting her friends model her work rather than hiring a fashion model, contributing to the labels’ homegrown aura.