iD Dunedin Fashion Week

1999-

The iD Dunedin Fashion Week is a magical week of thrills and excitement dedicated to fashion and design. Every autumn, Dunedin city comes alive to celebrate its distinct style, fashion identity and industry, with collaboration between the local, national and international fashion sector, tertiary institutions and supporting industries.

The week includes both ticketed and free events which are targeted at the public, established and emerging designers and the media. The two major events during the week are the iD International Emerging Designer Awards, an international fashion design competition, and the iD Dunedin Fashion Show held at the iconic Dunedin Railway Station. 

Dunedin has an established reputation for having a subculture conducive to producing uniquely creative fashion design. A group of local fashion designers recognised the huge potential in this sector. In 1999 they initiated an annual fashion event at a local restaurant to celebrate their key successes, profile the Dunedin environment, highlight its unique pool of creative talent and encourage upcoming designers of the future.

Rakel Blom, School of Design at Otago Polytechnic. Peroni First Prize Winner of the 2013 iD International Emerging Designer Awards. Image © iD Dunedin.

In 2000 a non-profit incorporated society, iD Dunedin Fashion Inc., was formed. The show was shifted to the Dunedin Railway Station Platform and taken to another level. This was achieved by running a single consumer fashion event in a unique heritage building showcasing 15 individual designers on a 120m long catwalk. These changes saw a substantial increase in the amount of media coverage and audience numbers.
 
The event has since grown into a week-long celebration of fashion events that are accessible to the public. Although the iD Show was originally designed to promote established and emerging Dunedin fashion designers this has now expanded to include both national and international talent, through the introduction of the iD Awards event and the incorporation of national and international guest designers in the iD Show.
 
2010 was the first year that an international guest designer participated in the iD Show. Iconic British designer, Zandra Rhodes, was the highlight for many at the event with a showcase of some of her vintage pieces as well as her current collection teamed with jewellery from British sculptor and jeweller, Andrew Logan.

Zandra Rhodes collection on the runway, 2010 iD Dunedin Fashion Show. Image © iD Dunedin.

This international influence lifted the profile of the event and strengthened the iD brand and credibility. Many international guests have followed, including Australian designer Akira Isogawa, Charlotte Smith with her collection of vintage clothing (Darnell Collection), Lutz Huelle from Paris and for 2013 internationally renowned milliner to the stars, Stephen Jones.       

British Milliner Stephen Jones on the iD catwalk with a model from the University of Shanghai Enginnering Science. 2013 iD Dunedin Fashion Show

The iD week continues to develop and now includes a full programme of events incorporating exhibitions, guest lectures, a designer sale, retail involvement and much more. There is a strong focus on community and education through links with the Otago Polytechnic and the other fashion design schools that enter the iD Awards.

Natalia Grzybowski, 3rd prize winner in the 2012 iD International Emerging Designer Awards. Image © iD Dunedin.

The event is dedicated to growing and educating all parts of the fashion industry as well as being a key destination event for Dunedin which assists in promoting the city as a creative centre. 

iD Dunedin Fashion Inc. is a charitable organisation (registered under the Charities Commission) and each year the event is run on a tight breakeven budget.  Any extra funds from the event are carried on to help fund the next year’s event. Since 2018 iD Dunedin has combined the Emerging Design Awards with the established designer runway collections into one show. 2017 was the last show at the Dunedin Railway Station. In 2018 the show was at the Dunedin Town Hall and in 2019 it will be held at The Regent.
 
The iD Dunedin Fashion Week is organised by the iD Dunedin Fashion Board which consists of Dr Margo Barton (co-chair and creative director), Sally Peart (co-chair), Tanya Carlson, Bernadette Casey, Charlotte Carr and Sally McMillian

Text by Victoria Muir. 

Last published February 2019.