Karen Walker among Fashion Week judges

Karen Walker at her own show in New York. Photo: Getty Images
Karen Walker at her own show in New York. Photo: Getty Images

Top New Zealand designer Karen Walker has been named as one of the judges at next month’s iD Dunedin Fashion Week.

Ms Walker will join the  iD International Emerging Designer Awards judging panel as a special guest alongside Benny Castles from World fashion house and Maggie Hewitt, the 23-year-old designer  behind New Zealand fashion brand Maggie Marilyn, which launched in 2016.

Arguably one of this country’s most "international" designers, and regarded as "a phenomenal force" in the industry, Ms Walker has gained  a cult following for her ready-to-wear, eyewear, jewellery, bags and perfume.

Her brand is available  in  more than 1000 stores in 200 cities in 42 countries. Her celebrity following includes Rihanna, Gigi Hadid, Lorde, Florence Welch, LeBron James and Adele.

Ms Walker said she was "very excited" to be part of the judging panel for this year’s iD International Emerging Designer Awards.

"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."

iD creative director and board chairwoman  Margo Barton said yesterday Ms Walker had been on their "scope" for a long time, so it was very exciting she would be a judge at this year’s event.

Ms Walker, Mr Castles and Ms Hewitt join Viva editor Amanda Linnell, Margi Robertson (NOM*d) and head judge Tanya Carlson to complete the 2018 judging panel.

"Our 42 designers from around the globe have an opportunity to be critiqued by some of our most successful and popular designers," Dr Barton said.

"Each designer brings a very different aesthetic and Amanda [Linnell] brings an extremely valuable insight into what the media are looking for - something every designer needs to be aware of."

Having Ms Walker engaging with the finalists would be "such a great experience for them", Dr Barton said.

As well as judging at the Thursday night show, Ms Walker will be involved in three public events - a talk at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery on Friday, May 4 at noon,  and two events on Saturday, May 5, a group panel discussion at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery at 1pm, and the Breast Cancer Cure show at Emerson’s Brewery at 6pm, which she will be attending in her role as the organisation’s ambassador.

Mr Castles and Ms Hewitt will also join the panel discussion on May 5 and Mr Castles will run a World pop-up store for show-goers at the Dunedin Town Hall before each show. On the Thursday he will give a talk at the art gallery at 1pm before running a perfume master class at Marbecks in Wall Street Mall at 3.30pm.

An interview with Karen Walker will appear  in The Mix on May 5.

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