Two visionaries of Australian design, Dion Lee and Hayden Cox, have just dropped a collaborative wetsuit and its as cool as you can imagine. If the so-called aliens that the US government have now “admitted” to seeing wore wetsuits, this would be it…
The Haydenshapes Rubber by Dion Lee collection isn’t just one singular wetsuit, but modular hybrid of wetsuit and ready-to-wear concepts that just happen to be perfect for surfing, embodying Lee’s deconstructive approach to fashion and Cox’s functional philosophies.
The 18-piece collection has been created using the more sustainable Japanese Yamamoto rubber rather than the familiar neoprene found in more traditional versions. Lee and Cox also tapped the expertise of The Woolmark Company to craft a merino wool lining, which might surprise some but is actually perfect for the sport for its antibacterial and water-based properties and incredible stretch.
In a statement about the collaboration, Cox explains that his and Lee’s “approach in launching wetsuits wasn’t to adopt the current format and apply our logos.
“I feel like our audience appreciates the unique lens we bring to what we do and detail we like to goto with construction and material. Working with a designer like DionLee who is one of the most innovative minds in architectural fashion tailoring and who also has a deep history and understanding of working with neoprene, is a true contribution to the wetsuit space. That’s something I always try to achieve when it comes to collaboration, honouring our core surf brand DNA whilst at the same time presenting a new idea and approach on how performance surf products can be designed and made.”
Lee’s touch is seen in the detailing: his infamous braided spine, achieved by manipulating the material, appears down the back of tops and eerily resembles gills. Integrated corsetry appears in the women’s pieces, allowing for a better manoeuvrability and performance when submerged in the water.
Surfing, and the beach, have long had a stronghold on the Australian lifestyle. Our pristine beaches, a perennially temperate climate that encourages the sport at any time of the year and a generally active culture create the perfect mix of ingredients for it brands that cater to it to succeed. Until recently, it’s a culture where tropical motifs and colours have held an iron like grip on the aesthetic. Think Quiksilver and Billabong, for example.
Cox, and his brand Haydenshapes, have been an exciting outlier in this field. The multidisciplinary artist has brought a minimalist, fashion-sensitive approach to the genre. One that has seen his ready-to-wear picked up by menswear giant MR PORTER.
Haydenshapes Rubber by Dion Lee is available now.