FASHFEST Designers in Profile—KAREN LEE

By the LFW team

Each designer’s fashion collection starts with inspiration. Where the inspiration comes from is not always clear. However, it’s mostly (always) a combination of research and thinking, as it is with Karen Lee, who will launch a new collection this year at FASHFEST 2016.

Karen Lee (centre) - Assemblage Project

Karen Lee (centre) – Assemblage Project

“I’ve been exploring the work of various artists that take a minimalistic approach and use minimal palettes,” says the designer, who owns and runs Assemblage Project in Braddon. “The artists catching my attention incorporate structure with asymmetrical shapes and include uneven details. The collection is still evolving so I haven’t yet settled on a name.”

Karenn Lee 2Those who know Karen Lee’s work, recognise the designer has always created contemporary and sophisticated garments that enhance changing body shapes. This collection is no exception. Karen wants women to feel comfortable and confident in her garments, and she wants them to express their individual style when wearing them and take on the garments as their own.

Karen’s collections always look fabulous on the catwalk. She’s appeared at FASHFEST every year since the event took Canberra by storm in 2013.  Indeed, her label is a strong draw card for the three-day fashion event. In 2016, the designer promises a dominant, strong, bold collection, concentrating on shape and form. “I’m playing with some avant-garde pieces that bring in sculptural elements, and soft, flowing pieces,” says Karen. “I’m also exploring the idea of contradictions.”

Karen wants to evoke a sense of involvement in her 2016 collection. “I want the wearer to embrace the garments; love what is on the catwalk and say ‘I want that outfit’.”

thumbnail_thumbnail_Karen Lee_Leighton Hutchinson_FF2013Karen’s new collection is in tune with the signature restrained colour palette she’s known for. As is always the case with this seasoned designer, the new outfits won’t follow here-today-gone-tomorrow fads or trends. “I design garments that can be worn for years,” says Karen. “Because of their design, quality of fabric, and the way they’re made, my designs celebrate slow fashion and all the term embraces.”

Slow fashion and ethical fashion are at the heart of Assemblage Project. “While the mainstream fashion industry relies on globalised, mass production, where garments go from the design stage to the retail floor in a few, short weeks, the labels I carry do not,” she says. “They’re not just a label. They’re slow. They’re ethical and in many ways sustainable.”

Assemblage Project has carried up to 10 independent fashion labels at a time. Currently, Karen stocks seven labels, four of which will launch collections at FASHFEST 2016—Edition, SZN, Pure Pod and her own label, Karen Lee. For the first time, Assemblage Project itself will also be doing a show at FASHFEST. Stay tuned for details.

Karen Lee

FASHFEST 2016 is on 29 September to 1 October at the award-winning National Convention Centre Canberra. Three nights. Six distinct shows. One total fashion experience!

Tickets on sale soon.

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