Funky and functional for emerging fashion designers

Dunedin is currently the style capital of the country, thanks to the popular iD Dunedin Fashion Week.

Weird and innovative clothes have been on show around the city, as an army of models take part in photoshoots around local landmarks.

It's a good way for the guest models from Shanghai to explore a new city, as well as the 27 emerging young designers who've travelled here from around the world.

They are competing against each other, but they're also building networks as they forge a career path in the fashion industry.

"It's a good opportunity to mingle and make some connections," says designer Eily Shaddock from Brisbane.

"I feel like I've genuinely made very good friends here already, because we are all in the same boat, and we are interested in the same things, and we support each other."

Online connections are the theme behind Shaddock's futuristic-looking garments.

Her collection 'Digidentity' uses materials like PVC, laser-cut acrylic, and digital printing on lycra to tackle the topic of social media addiction.

"It explores the concepts of your true and false identity online," says Shaddock, "and looking at that through really textural, out-there clothing. "

Some other finalist collections in the 2019 International Emerging Designer Awards are targetting those consumers exploring the outside world.

Cassandra Casas Rojas from the United States is into "functional fashion", designing her pieces for "global nomads".

One jacket in her 'Global' collection transforms into a full-length sleeping bag - with another turning into a large backpack.

She's even created a bright yellow garmet that converts into a four-person tent, complete with tie ropes and tent poles.

"So it's about having a fashion aesthetic," she says, "but also adding purpose to the collection - not just to make you look good."

But for some collections, looking good is the end goal, like a high-end collection from Singapore designer Erika Ryuu.

She's incorporated faux fur, leather, and suiting into her men's streetwear pieces, which are based on a famous Chinese book of mythology, The Classic of Mountains and Seas.

"So the most inspiration is from the story and also the illustrations from there," says Ryuu.

The colourful collections from all 27 international designers hit the Regent Theatre catwalk in Dunedin on Friday and Saturday nights.

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