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24-Year-Old Ximon Lee Becomes First U.S. Designer to Win the H&M Design Award

He is also the first menswear designer to be awarded the prize.
A look from Ximon Lee's collection. Photo: H&M

A look from Ximon Lee's collection. Photo: H&M

Big congratulations are in order for Ximon Lee. On Tuesday, the 24-year-old Parsons graduate became not only the first U.S. designer, but also the first menswear designer, to win the H&M Design Award.

The H&M Design Award, now in its fourth year, picks eight designers from all over the world to present a collection to a jury, which this year included Lily Allen, Marc by Marc Jacobs's Luella Bartley and photographer Tommy Ton. The winner receives €50,000 and the opportunity to develop pieces from his or her collection to be sold at select H&M stores and at each fall.

Lee's collection, shown in Stockholm during the city's local fashion week, focused on exaggerated silhouettes composed of an unusual mix of fabrics, including plastic and cardboard. The collection, inspired by a documentary about homeless children in post-Soviet Moscow, is not the most wearable, but Lee hopes that the silhouettes will push menswear forward, or even appeal to women. "My collection was designed as menswear but I’m excited to see it also worn by women,” says Lee in a statement, adding that the award "means so much to me at the beginning of my career – I cannot imagine how I’d start my own label without it."

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According to Tommy Ton, Lee was "unanimously" deemed the frontrunner. "He had everything," said Bartley in a statement. "His research was beautiful, the fabric development was really skillful and his design was good."

He certainly has a strong point of view, and it will be interesting how he'll interprets it for H&M customers, most of whom probably aren't interested in a cardboard vest with pockets.

Browse the full collection below.