iD Dunedin Emerging Designer Awards 2010

It seems like years ago when I was in Dunedin and these upcoming posts have been long overdue. Mostly because I want to share my experiences with you all! On the first night I checked into the lovely St Clair Beach Resort and was promptly whisked away to the iD Dunedin Emerging Designer Awards for 2010. I love emerging designer shows, it sort of brings you back down from the dizzy heights following high fashion can take you and you remember the young designers who are just starting out. With a myriad of designers from all over the world as well as eight other award categories, everyone was already a winner to make it to the final 28 who were going to show.

Sitting on the front row next to a fashion show novice was a refreshing start. Fergus Blakiston, a travel journalist, was also in town to explore the sights and sounds of Dunedin, New Zealand like myself and hearing his thoughts on a fashion show made the event quite fun. Never having been to a fashion show before, he marveled at the intricacies of some designs, was a little over awed with other more elaborate creations. It reminded me of the first time I saw a professional fashion show (though admittedly I was a little under awed after working backstage at shows first).

So what did I think of the iD Dunedin Emerging Designer Awards?

I loved the spirit displayed in each and every design and the inspiration for each designer was vastly different. My personal favourites were Hellen Van ReesFloating Figures collection inspired by jellyfish – I love a floating dress or two; Ichiro Suzuki‘s Tweedissmo Volume 2 collection which took mens tweed tailoring to a whole new level; and Siobhan Moroney‘s A Blessing and A Disguise collection which was based on how she would have costumed the title character in the novel Howl’s Moving Castle by Diane Wynne (which I now have to track down and read). The show was entertaining and inventive and it should be interesting to see how all the designers who show that night will work their vision into full collections – that have commercial viability as well.

Another collection I thought was amazing was Igor Galas, a graduate of the Faculty of Textile Design in Zagreb, Croatia with his Protector from Knitted Galaxy collection. He was the grand prize winner of the night with his knitted collection of amazingly intricate dresses.

“My collection is my dream of a Protector who will come from the knitted galaxy and save the earth from the phenomenon of global warming,” said Galas. “My dream is linked with the fact that wool, and only wool, has the characteristic of being warm in winter and cool in summer. This is the balance that is needed so that the Earth can move forward and be green and beautiful. ”

With such a traditional material often reserved for nana’s who want to knit bootie and sweaters for their grand children, it was even more of a surprise to see how Galas had transformed the traditional material into something almost avante garde. It came as no surprise that he was also awarded the Mittelmoda prize, which allows him direct entry to show at Mittelmoda in Italy.

Other winners that evening were Ryota Shiga, Japan (Dunedin City Council second place and $3,000); Ichiro Suzuki, UK (Mild Red third place and $1,000); Paula Kyle Walden, Australia (Golden Centre jewellery design award and $1,000); Brooke Fairgray, NZ (three-month residency at the Dunedin Fashion Incubator); Sandra Tupu, NZ ($2,500 Otago Institute of Design Sustainability Award); Laura Marshall, NZ (Pacific Blue Emerging Designer Travel Prize); Glenn Yungnickel (Pulp Fashion Culture Award).

So who decided the fate of the 28 designers? The judging team was headed up by British designer Zandra Rhodes, almost the forgotten fashion designer for the 1960s & 1970s but in recent years has been making a comeback and showing the world that she was in fashion before the internet-age was born.

“It’s been great to see such an infinite variety of entrants, from all over the world,” she said in a release. “This shows the international appeal this fashion competition has which is fantastic. The winning collection by Igor Galas showed wonderful originality that could be translated to a commercial success. His collection demonstrated individuality and his modesty in presenting his collection and describing how he made it was refreshing.”

Rhodes was joined by her partner in crime (and jewelry designer) Andrew Logan, Stefano Sopelza (Mittelmoda Fashion Award Project Supervisor), Katie Newton (Sunday Star Times) and Isaac Hindin-Miller, fashion blogger at

The only slight blemish on a nice fashionable night out (complete with chauffeured ‘classic’ JAGs I might add) was the poor MC’ing job by Samantha Hayes, a pretty young TV3 news reporter who just needed a little more experience/training and a little less wine.

See my photos from the night below.

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More from this series

Leaving on a jet plane to Dunedin, New Zealand

Zandra Rhodes to hit New Zealand for iD Dunedin Fashion Week 2010

Dunedin, first impressions are everything darling

A Friday in Dunedin: Butterflies and an insight into a Zandra Rhodes the woman and the fashion designer

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ was be flown to Dunedin, New Zealand thanks to Tourism Dunedin by Pacific Blue and stayed as a guest of the St Clair Beach Resort.

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