Funky fashion

It is hard to enhance the Dunedin Railway Station when a sapphire sky complements the basalt and Oamaru stone solidity of the tourist-beloved structure.

But a chatter of young designers and models buoyed by boundless enthusiasm and a wonderful studied fashionability did just that yesterday.

Emerging designers from around the world had gathered at the station in a collaborative affair with the Otago Polytechnic, where communication design students were learning their photographic craft, taking snaps of the models as part of their course.

The event summed up just the sort of benefits iD Dunedin Fashion Week brings to the city.

For a start, the influx of fashionable and attractive people enhances what is already, clearly, the world's greatest small city.

At the railway station yesterday, the emerging designers were looking funky, yet elegant. They exhibited an ideal sort of bubbly fervour as they gathered to have their designs draped over the impossibly statuesque models that turn up annually from Shanghai.

Photographers of all sorts milled around, crouching and snapping, focusing and snapping again, circling the models for the best viewpoint.

Weaving among them were hundreds of cruise ship passengers from Celebrity Solstice, coming for a look at the station but being presented with a city that featured so much more.

Dunedin was not just picturesque - it was terribly modern and elegantly hip. It was well dressed and it had a quiet confidence, no longer a regional outpost but the centre of everything worthwhile in New Zealand.

It was cool.

That is one thing the fashion week brings to Dunedin. Another is the collaboration with the Otago Polytechnic, evidenced yesterday by the communication design students nervously setting up their shots and dealing with lighting and other issues they would not have to deal with in a studio.

The idea for their involvement was to learn their craft in a real-life situation on location, something that could not be learned from a book.

Of course, the collaboration is wider than just communication design.

Fashion design students are heavily involved with the show, something iD co-chairwoman and polytech academic leader of fashion Margo Barton says has had huge benefits for their learning.

As well, this year students from the polytech's business school studying event management-related courses will also be involved.

And what are our learnings?

The fashion week makes us look cool.

It makes our students much more clever.

Best of all, it helps make Dunedin the world's greatest small city.

There is no downside to any of that.

 

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