In 1999, a group of local Dunedin fashion designers came together with a vision - to create an annual fashion event celebrating the city's unique style and creativity and to encourage upcoming designers of the future.
In 2000, a non-profit incorporated society – iD Dunedin Fashion – was formed. Since those early days at local bars, the organising committee behind the event, led by local lawyer Susie Staley, has grown the event every year to the international success it is today.
From a local bar to the longest catwalk in the Southern Hemisphere at Dunedin's historic Railway Station
The first official iD show was held at local bar Bennu. Designer Tanya Carlson still remembers that first show and the thrill of designers coming together to showcase the city's distinctive design aesthetic. "It was a wonderful event - it was so intimate and everyone was so excited to be a part of it. We were all buzzing." The following year the show moved to the Railway Station. And at 120m long, the catwalk which runs the length of the platform, is truly spectacular for visitors, showgoers and designers alike.
The original three - still showing today
Labels Carlson, Mild-Red and NOM*d are brands synonymous with Dunedin fashion. Each label distinctively captures the aesthetic and style of the city and the designers behind the labels – Tanya Carlson, Donna Tulloch and Margi Robertson – continue to give incredible support and creative vision to Dunedin’s fashion community. Over the 15 years of iD, each label has gone from strength to strength.
The iD International Emerging Designer Awards
Five years after the first show, the iD committee collaborated with Otago Polytechnic to create the iD International Emerging Designer Awards as a way of encouraging the designers of the future. Since its inception, the Awards have launched the careers of countless finalists who travel around the world to be part of the competition. iD has brought in guest judges - industry experts - including international designers Zandra Rhodes, Akira Isogawa, Lutz Huelle, Stephen Jones, 2014's Martin Grant, and NZ's own Francis Hooper, Margi Robertson, Tanya Carlson alongside fashion teachers such as Nicholas Huxley and Karen Webster to be part of the Awards.
As the event has grown from a one-off catwalk show to a week of associated events, ensuring the public show at the Railway Station remains fresh and new and continues to draw crowds has been crucial to the sutainability of the unique fashion event. Guest designers have been a major drawcard, attracting visitors, showgoers and media to the event. From its first international guest Zandra Rhodes to Zambesi, Stephen Jones to Yvonne Bennetti, Lutz Huelle to WORLD, the event has brought in guests from around NZ and the world.
15 years and beyond - the future of iD
In 2014, the event celebrated its 15th year anniversary with over a week of fashion events - from retail experiences to exhibitions, culminating in the premier events - the iD International Emerging Designer Awards and the iD Dunedin Fashion Shows held Friday and Saturday nights.