2013.021.014 Oral History with Wayne Lee
Wayne Lee was born in Chinese family in Vietnam, and grew up in Florida. She was inspired by the coworkers of her first job in Barneys, and began to pursue the career of fashion design. Lee thought the most important spirits of setting up a business in New York are hardworking, passion, persistent, patient, and following your heart.


WAYNE LEE: Okay, sorry. Before I arrived in Orlando, I left Vietnam when I was five by boat, on boat, and uh I was. .. my parents and I were both marooned on an island for about a year. We were rescued by the Red Cross and were sponsored by a church group in Orlando and they took care of us.

WAYNE LEE: I think that beginning, that first part of my life, has a lot to do with the work that I do and uh I want to make um clothes that last, clothes that you can possibly take on an island with you and wear it for a year and not have it fall apart. Um but I really believe in you know making something, making clothes that are good quality, of sustenance, and um, just overall um, easy to travel with. That you can use over and over and over again.

WAYNE LEE: I didn't really have that in mind at the beginning I perused a career in medicine and um I believe it was though working with a lot of fashion individuals my first job was really inspired by the enthusiasm and the spirit of my coworkers. I slowly gradually began to look into fashion as a career choice.

WAYNE LEE: I think fashion these days takes a lot of work and also passion. I was brought up with the ideals of being very persistent, being very patient, and also following your heart and making the most out of that. And I believe with that sort of firm foundation that my lovely parents gave me it really has really given me a great start for an industry like this.

WAYNE LEE: The black and white piece, the print is an optical print and the piece is very structural but it's also very fluid and it's almost weightless and I wanted to sort of mimic the concept of birds of prey in that piece.

WAYNE LEE: The halter dress is titled the geometric halter dress it has a very structural quality, it is layered in two different layers on the dress part and it's a backless halter dress so it really moves when you are walking. Fashion is a form of self-expression. For me it is a world of fantasy and imagination and creativity and it's so strong and it's so inviting in that sense that it's kind of like a drug and an addiction. Creating is an addiction too I feel as a designer. It really is a magnet that draws you very close to it and it's hard to get rid of.

WAYNE LEE: To me what is the most exciting about this industry is that is not just in its closed quarters of being fashion itself its really branching out and its making these contact points with a lot of different-- you can do so much with fashion. You can be political with it, you can you know work though a lot of different channels with it. And I think fashion these days, current fashion is not just about being fashionable it's also about being you know conscious it's also about you know being sustainable, it's about contributing back to society.

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