iD fashion week showcases designs from female wetsuits to shoes by prisoners

Dunedin's iD fashion week has young designers flying in from around the world, and their enthusiasm shines through their bright and bold collections.

Wellington designer Gemma Cornish is a self-confessed water baby, spending years as a competitive swimmer and surfer.

But she was frustrated with how the wetsuit industry was dominated by male styles.

"I guess I could see that gap in the market for putting some femininity into those wetsuits and beautiful colours and digital prints," she told Newshub.

The graduate designer made the collection in her own size, enabling her to give them a true field test in the water.

"And I always get comments every time I go out, which is awesome because it starts the whole conversation and they just love it," she said.

Now Cornish is working with an international manufacturer to launch her own wetsuit and swimwear label.

The Emerging Designer Awards are the showpiece of this iD Dunedin Fashion week, featuring young creatives from 19 different countries.

Peruvian Annaiss Yucra Mancilla knitted political statements about under-privilege into her collection, including shoes made by male prison inmates from San Juan.

"We went all the way there, every Friday for five months. And we had workshops, we ate there with the inmates," she told Newshub.

Jasper McGilvray's collection was inspired by his hometown of Leeds. The clothes feature heavily embroidered beer mats, and patches of businesses from the working class city.

"It's all about drink culture [and] pubs, but I've also combined it with extreme femininity and couture. And sort of like humourising all of it," he told Newshub.

He's spun a gender-twisting take on sponsored rugby tops and boxing robes - but he's also keen to make a career in commercial fashion.

"I'm happy to make extreme big dresses and stuff like that, but I also like the idea of making jeans and T-shirts and prints and basic stuff."

His collection - and those of 42 other designers - hit Dunedin's Town Hall catwalk on Thursday night.