ARTISTIC MULTI-DISCIPLINARY DESIGNER, MENTOR & BRAND BUILDER, CREATIVE CONSULTANT, DIRECTOR AND EDUCATOR.
Lee Lapthorne MA is the founder and director of the internationally recognised On|Off showcase, where he supports and mentors emerging fashion designers as part of London Fashion Week. Lee’s artistic outlet has also led him to have a successful career as a textile artist, accessory designer and ceramic artist selling his collections during Paris and London Fashion Week gaining exclusive sales to Harvey Nichols and On Pedder in Hong Kong. Lee has also had his work exhibited at the Barbican centre London, Gloucester Cathedral and the V&A London.
On|Off since its inception in 2002, has showcased many of the most exciting emerging international fashion designers of their time. On|Off has an international reputation for professionalism and exciting eclectic talent to discover new creative visions and collections of artistic freedom, innovation, sustainability & quality. On|Off has showcased international talents at Milan, Paris and London Fashion week.
Current on schedule designers supported by On|Off have collectively been presented over 36 awards at the British Fashion Awards. Previous On|Off designers include JW Anderson, Louise Gray, Yang Du, Mark Fast, Timothy Bouyez Forge, Robert Wun and Jack Irving whilst On|Off has also supported international fashion designers such as Gareth Pugh, Peter Pilotto, Bernhard Willhelm, Osman, Zandra Rhodes and Roksanda Ilincic to name a few into their present, highly acclaimed careers.
Lapthorne’s success stems from his unprecedented drive and unique approach to his art. With over 30 years’ experience in the fashion industry, he has worked with and supported some of London’s most successful designers including Preen, Pam Hogg, Robert Carey Williams, Faustine Steinmetz and Marques Almeida. He has delivered projects and consulted for companies and organisations such as Gucci, L’Oreal, Chalhoub Group, Cotton USA, Westfield, Land Rover and Jaguar and the British Council.
As an academic, he has also worked at many institutions including the Royal College of Arts, University of Westminster, IMA Istanbul and he has been appointed as an external examiner including at Central Saint Martins and University of the Creative Arts. During his time as Programme Director for the Department of Fashion at Ravensbourne University London he positioned the Fashion course as a world leader in Digital Fashion, gaining international press and improving the student experience, retention, attainment gaps and the NSS scores. Lee secured Ravensbourne as the only University to show on the official schedule in 2021. He is currently the Head of the Institute of Jewellery Fashion and Textiles at Birmingham City University.
Lee’s research profile is focused on the innovation of multidisciplinary textiles printing techniques. Lee was appointed artist in residence at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and his work is now archived in their collections. His interest in Digital Fashion has supported his passion and drive in supporting new employment opportunities to the designers he mentors.
“On|Off provides an excellent platform and support structure for young designers through its showcasing during London Fashion Week” Boris Johnson, Prime Minister
“One of the most important people in fashion production and design” Design Week
“Lapthorne’s talent for realising potential next big things in fashion is always spot on” Wonderland Magazine
“Lapthorne has effectively launched the careers of British fashion stars, JW Anderson, Gareth Pugh and Roksanda Ilincic” afternyne.com
“The very best of international degree and post-graduate talents selected by Lee Lapthorne” Vogue Italia
- 2022 Lee is appointed as the Head of the Institute of Jewellery, Fashion and Textiles at Birmingham City University overseeing over 20 UG and PG courses across 2 Schools.
- 2022 Appointed to the Textiles Institute board, External Examiner for UCA Epsom and University of Salford Manchester.
- 2022 Lee pushes the boundaries of Physical Fashion Showcasing and Digital Fashion sales by collaborating with NFT fashion store BNV to showcase designer Jack Irving as part of On|Off London Fashion week at the Grosvenor Ballroom London. Creating huge press recognition with features in The Sunday Telegraph, Perfect Magazine, Showstudio and The Sun newspaper.
- 2022 Under Lee’s leadership, Ravensbourne University London is listed in Wikipedia under Digital Fashion as a World Leader in education.
- 2021 Securing Ravensbourne University as a world leader in Fashion Digital Education. Launching Fashion Digital BA (Hons) pathway, invited to showcase at London Fashion Week (being the only University to do so in September 2021) and featured on BBC News.
- 2020 After being accepted onto the official Berlin Fashion week schedule but unable to attend due to the start of the Covid pandemic, Lee conceives Rave Digital a platform to showcase Ravensbourne Fashion and Gaming Students as a collaborative project. Successfully launching on Twitch.TV (gaining 60K unique views in just 2 hours) and gaining international exposure in publications such as Forbes magazine, WWD, Love, Italian Vogue reaching over 125 million readers.
- 2019 Appointed Programme Director Fashion Ravensbourne University London.
- 2019 Lee is Artist in residence at The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and showcases textile installations at Anne Hathaway Cottage and Halls Croft. The work is archived in the Trust’s collections.
- 2017 Lee is awarded the title of Visiting Professor at BCU.
- 2017 On|Off becomes an official “On Schedule” London Fashion Week showcase.
- 2016 Birmingham City University awards Lee ‘Alumni of the Year’.
- 2016 Lee celebrates 15 years consulting for Cotton USA managing their designer sponsorship programme supporting designers such as Preen, Richard Nicoll, PPQ, Louise Grey, Palmer//Harding and Faustine Steinmetz.
- 2015 Lee’s successful company doll merges with Premier Comms, London, with Lee as Creative Director.
- 2015 Lee is appointed Practitioner in Residence for the Media School at London College of Communications UAL.
- 2015 Lee is a judge and panelist for the International Fashion Showcase during London Fashion Week hosted by Sarah Mower for the British Fashion Council and British Council, advisor for Istanbul’s Incube Designer Programme.
- 2013 Lee launches the world’s largest shoe department store for the Chalhoub Group named, Level Shoe District (based in Dubai).
- 2012 Lapthorne and On|Off celebrate the career of Zandra Rhodes, during Paris Fashion Week, with archive showcase.
- 2012 Wins Best Live Event at the Association of Event Organisers after being selected by Land Rover to launch their new Evoque car in the UK.
- 2010 Launches his self-named fashion accessories range, which is already popular with celebrities such as Jessie J, Paloma Faith and Fearne Cotton since its exclusive launch with Harvey Nichols.
- 2010 Lapthorne works with Jessie J, getting her featured at the ‘Westfields Greatest’ fashion showcase, Britains next top model live & Paris Fashion Week.
- 2009 Mentoring Girls Aloud singer Nicola Roberts on the launch of her make-up range Dainty Doll.
- 2009 Appointed external examiner at Central Saint Martins for BA print. A role which lasted four years.
- 2009 Awarded the Exhibition Feature Area of the Year by the AEO Awards (Association of Event Organisers) for the Clothes Show Live Fashion Theatre Art Director.
- 2007 Lapthorne commissions Japanese artist and photographer Izima Kaoru to photograph Erin O’Connor.
- 2007 Lee selects J.W Anderson to showcase in On|Off Presents at the Royal Academy of Arts.
- 2007 On|Off produces Peter Pillotto’s first solo show off schedule during LFW.
- 2006 On|Off hosts Gareth Pugh’s first solo show at LFW.
- 2003 Launched pioneering company On|Off, which bridged the gap between on and off schedule designers. Since its launch, On|Off was the first event of its kind to have won the Cool Brands Award 2012/13 and attracted some of the most exciting international fashion designers and, in most cases, offered these designers their first international platform.
Lapthorne set up award-winning event production and creative agency, doll. The company specialises in innovative, multi-platform brand experiences.
- 2003 Lee becomes the MA fashion and Textile course director at UCE.
- 1999 – 2002 Lee produces various art textiles pieces for St Giles Barbican, PACA, Gloucester Cathedral, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, The Bull Ring development.
- 1998 Lee Lapthorne completes his MA in textiles awarded with a distinction.