Top Kiwi designer Karen Walker – who has garnered a cult international following for her ready-to-wear, eyewear, jewellery, bags and perfume – will join the prestigious iD International Emerging Designer Awards judging panel as a special guest this year alongside fashion success story Maggie Hewitt (of Maggie Marilyn) and Benny Castles (of WORLD).

Walker, whose celebrity following includes Rihanna, Gigi Hadid, Lorde, Florence Welch, LeBron James and Adele, has consistently ranked in The Business of Fashion’s powerhouse BoF 500, reflecting her position as a global industry figure shaping the future of fashion. The brand is available in 42 countries, 200 cities and more than 1000 stores worldwide including Barneys New York, Liberty London and Harvey Nichols.

“I’m very excited to be part of the judging panel for this year’s iD International Emerging Designer Awards,” says Walker.

“I’m sure there’ll be some exceptional talent and it’ll be great to view these collections up close. It’s been a while since I’ve had any time in Dunedin so I’m looking forward to seeing what’s happening in the city too.” 

As well as judging at the Thursday night show, Walker will be involved in three public events – a talk at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery on Friday 4 May at 12pm, a group panel discussion on Saturday May 5 at 1pm – also at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery – and she will attend the Breast Cancer Cure show in her role as Ambassador to be held at Emerson’s Brewery on Saturday May 5 from 6pm. 

Other special guests to the iD Judging Panel include Director and Designer Benny Castles from iconic New Zealand fashion house WORLD, and Maggie Hewitt – the 23-year-old designer behind New Zealand fashion brand Maggie Marilyn which launched in September 2016. The debut Maggie Marilyn collection sold exclusively online at Net-A-Porter before quickly gathering pace to now being sold in over 75 stores internationally including Saks, Neiman Marcus, Moda Operandi, Intermix, Shop-bop FWRD, Selfridges among many others.

Benny Castles and Maggie Hewitt will also join the panel discussion on Saturday, while Castles will also present a talk at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery on Thursday May 3 at 1pm, run a perfume master class at Marbecks in Wall Street Mall the same day at 3.30pm and run a WORLD pop-up store for showgoers at the Dunedin Town Hall before each show. 

The three guest designers – brought to iD Dunedin Fashion Week by Air New Zealand and Dunedin Airport – join Viva editor Amanda Linnell, Margi Robertson (NOM*d) and head judge Tanya Carlson to complete this year’s judging panel. 

“We are absolutely thrilled to have such a prestigious judging panel for this year’s new-look iD International Emerging Designer shows,” says iD Creative Director and iD Board chair Dr Margo Barton.

“Our 42 designers from around the globe have an opportunity to be critiqued by some of our most successful and popular designers. Each designer brings a very different aesthetic, while Amanda brings an extremely valuable insight into what the media are looking for – something every designer needs to be aware of.”  

Tickets are still available through Ticketmaster to the iD International Emerging Designer Shows to be held at the Dunedin Town Hall on Thursday May 3 and Friday May 4 where 44 designers from 19 countries will show 42 collections. 


Amie Richardson