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Designers from India, Bangladesh, Vietnam and China are unable to attend this week's event.
The four will be included in next year's event instead.
iD spokeswoman Nicola McConnell said last night the cause of the visa problem was unclear.
The visas had not been processed by the New Zealand Government, but it was not clear if applications were made late, or if there was another reason.
The iD Dunedin Fashion Week committee has resolved to help designers get visas in future.
The event was launched last night at Emerson's Brewery, the 20th version of the show and the 15th of the iD International Emerging Designers Awards.
Fashion Week committee co-chairwoman and Otago Polytechnic academic leader of fashion Margo Barton told the crowd the event was a recognition of its approach to sharing fashion, nurturing sustainability, and making a contribution to the fashion industry in New Zealand.
''Tonight we are here to celebrate iD.''
Dr Barton said it was a great source of pride so many students from the Otago Polytechnic had gone on to do well in New Zealand and overseas.
That was exactly what the event set out to do.
Dunedin deputy mayor Chris Staynes said through Otago Polytechnic's School of Design, Dunedin was becoming the destination of choice for future designers.
Otago Polytechnic communications director Mike Waddell used the event to bring up the issue of the Government's plans to establish a national governing council to manage all 16 polytechnics in New Zealand.
''There is an interesting challenge for the whole polytechnic sector,'' he said.
''We want to be the sector, we want to lead the sector, we want to be the head office of the sector for New Zealand if not the world.''