The future of international fashion design on display in Dunedin

The future of fashion looked bright in Dunedin on Saturday as the iD Dunedin Emerging Designer Awards returned to physical form in a scintillating and glamorous evening at the Otago Museum, after being forced to go digital in 2020 due to Covid -19.

A cleverly designed virtual registration and judging system allowed students from around the world in their final year of fashion school to submit their entries digitally to a diverse panel of judges including Sara Maino, Editor-in-Chief at Vogue Italy, WWDPatty Huntington’s Australian correspondent, Jacinta FitzGerald of Mindful Fashion, Doris de Pont of the NZ Fashion Museum, Margarita Robertson of NOM * d and Dame Denise L’Estrange-Corbet of WORLD.

Guests of the live parade, which sold out within 24 hours of ticket sales, saw 15 collections of New Zealand and Australian finalists up close, while a film starring the 41 finalists from around the world performed on screens throughout the hall throughout the evening.

The second half of the show featured current and upcoming season designs from NOM * d, MildRed, Carlson, Company of Strangers and Charmaine Reveley, billed as the “godmothers” of Dunedin fashion.

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“This year has been another fantastic year, building on the concept we developed last year in response to Covid-19, which is the film version of the awards,” the judge said in chef and designer Tanya Carlson, who has been involved with iD since its inception. 17 years ago.

“This year is another example of the stellar talent in fashion design from all over the world, and I think people were really excited to be able to dress up and attend a big fashion event.”

Carlson said that despite the challenges this year’s finalists have faced over the past 18 months, there was an overwhelming sense of optimism in all of the nominations.

The show also featured designs by (left to right) NOM * d's Margarita Robertson, Charmaine Reveley, Company of Stranger's Sara Munro, Tanya Carlson and MildRed's Donna Tulloch, pictured alongside models wearing their designs.

David Shields / Supplied

The show also featured designs by (left to right) NOM * d’s Margarita Robertson, Charmaine Reveley, Company of Stranger’s Sara Munro, Tanya Carlson and MildRed’s Donna Tulloch, pictured alongside models wearing their designs.

“I thought Covid would have had a more negative impact, but I was delighted to see the positivity and optimism run through the collections,” she said.

What also emerged was “an overwhelming concern for the future of the planet”.

“Sustainability has been a major theme for the past six years and this year it was at the center of all collections. “

Carlson said there has also been a global move towards more intimate creative processes such as hand-crafting, with a number of students incorporating hand-knitting into their entries.

“All of the emerging designers engaged in sustainable practices and all shared the desire to create fashion that leaves a lighter footprint,” she said.

The awards used the same concept of “virtual” judging developed for last year’s digital awards, with entrants showcasing their collections via video and the judges’ scores and individual scores gathered to select the winners.

“Overall, the comments and ratings from the judges were pretty consistent, so the winners’ decisions were pretty straightforward,” Carlson said.

The first place at the Polytechnic of Otago, with a prize of $ 5,000, went to Sara Kickmayer of the French Fashion Institute, France.

A sophisticated interpretation of knitwear, the Kickmayer collection, titled True Utopia, was inspired by transformable modular structures and forms, which resulted in cleverly draped, organic yet luxurious silhouettes using a combination of transformed raw materials and regenerated materials.

“Sara’s collection has been beautifully designed, thought out, and is a fresh take on traditional knitting techniques,” said Carlson.

Second place went to Min-Yan Tsai from Shih Chien University in Taiwan. The collection of Tsai ‘天 ç…§ 花 å¡š (Flowery mound) took inspiration from samurai armor and military uniforms from WWII for its unique silhouettes, with a black and white color scheme that played on the idea of ​​camouflage patterns.

Mengzhe (Justin) Chi from US Fashion Institute of Technology won third place with his collection Put on take off, which playfully explores the relationships between everyday attachments and clothing structures.

Taking an interactive approach, each look comes with an assembly instruction manual, allowing consumers to purchase pre-cut fabric and follow the steps to make their own garment.

Massey graduate Lydia Paine, whose research for her Mother & Fashion collection revealed the knitting, smocking and paving skills of its grandparents, was named New Zealand’s Top Emerging Designer with a coveted and cohesive collection of comfortable and directional knits.

Gisella Candi from Sydney University of Technology, one of four Australian designers who traveled to Dunedin to present their projects, received the Natural Luxury with Wool award.

Candi’s collection featured quirky prints and quirky silhouettes, with self-developed, screen-printed fabrics and knits made on a home knitting machine.

The most enduring iD Dunedin collection has been awarded to Olivia Rubens of the London College of Fashion in Canada. Rubens undertook nearly 10 collaborations to create it Lives of duplicity collection, including working with an Estonian accessories designer to make miniature chainmail corsets, sourcing mohair and fleece from a British farmer, and working with an Irish company to dye yarns and fabrics. fabrics.

Of the New Zealand attendees, Carlson said that “a few really stood out for me”.

“Kristal Roberts of Massey University used innovative textile handling processes to transform discarded denim into new and reinvented pieces, but with a hint of their past lives.

A denim design by Kristal Roberts of Massey University.

Jodie Gibson / Supplied

A denim design by Kristal Roberts of Massey University.

“George Borrie of the Southern Institute of Technology [stood out] with his heartfelt and moving tribute to his brother William.

“And Jing He, also from Massey University, who really pushed the boundaries with his reinterpretation of bridal wear.

“It’s encouraging to see that the future of fashion is in good hands,” said Carlson.

Joseph E. Golightly