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He met Dunedin fashion designers, models and tutors at the Dunedin Railway Station yesterday, when dates for the 15th annual iD Dunedin Fashion Week were announced.
Mr Shearer said he was keen to visit Dunedin for iD 2014, to be held from March 30 to April 6.
The politician was impressed by his first taste of the week-long fashion event when attending the iD International Emerging Designer Awards in March.
He had asked to speak to those involved in Dunedin's fashion industry, and made time to do so during his tour of the city yesterday accompanied by local Labour MPs Clare Curran and David Clark.
They were met at the railway station - the setting for the annual iD Dunedin Fashion Show - by iD committee chairwoman Susie Staley and Otago Polytechnic fashion academic leader Margo Barton.
Students and graduates of the polytechnic's fashion programme, who had some involvement with iD, were also present, with Dunedin models clad in their designs.
Mr Shearer spoke to the young designers about the benefits of studying in Dunedin and being associated with iD, as well as the challenges they faced forging fashion careers.
''iD has given them a foothold and connections right across the world. It shows there is fantastic expertise here.''
He said fashion was part of New Zealand's strong and innovative design industry, and the country's fashion could be seen as world-leading.
''What's happened here in Dunedin is that there's clearly a pocket of real excellence here, and as a result of that it's drawing people from all over the country. I think New Zealand could have a thriving fashion industry.''
Also announced yesterday was the list of 53 designers showing at this year's New Zealand Fashion Week, including Dunedin's Sara Munro with her Company of Strangers line.
Ms Staley told Mr Shearer about the technical production and logistics involved in staging iD events each year. It was one of Dunedin's largest annual fixtures and she was proud it had survived for 15 years despite tough economic times.
The 15th anniversary week will include overseas guests, retrospectives and the 10th iD International Emerging Designer Awards, on April 3. The iD Dunedin Fashion Shows will be at Dunedin Railway Station on April 4 and 5.
Ms Staley said the dates fit with other international fashion events as well as Dunedin events and the cruise ship schedule, which impacted on use of the railway station.
She said many existing sponsors had indicated they would again be involved, but more sponsorship was needed.
''With a $10,000 funding boost from our premier funder, the Dunedin City Council, we're gearing up for a fabulous 15th anniversary year, which will build on the success of last year's event. The organising committee is keen to hear from potential sponsors.''
Tickets will go on sale in November.