Shanghai models hit Dunedin

Last updated 12:04 02/04/2014

TOP MODELS: 10 models from Shanghai who will walk in Dunedin's 15th annual fashion week.

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Stepping out on the longest fashion runway in the world is one of the attractions for 10 models who have come from Shanghai for Dunedin Fashion Week.

Fashion itself is the main reason for the Chinese embracing the annual iD Dunedin this week, but the unique catwalk at the picturesque Dunedin Railway Station was also a factor, the dean of Shanghai's University of Engineering Science Fashion Design major, Madame Zhou said.

Zhou has brought the models for the 15th anniversary of Dunedin Fashion Week.

They will take collections by emerging international designers, as well as pieces by established and guest designers, along the iD catwalks as part of a collaboration between the Otago Polytechnic, the Shanghai University of Engineering Science and iD Dunedin Fashion Week.

The collaboration is an extension of a wider sister-city bond between Dunedin and Shanghai.

"We've already known about the top four world fashion weeks, but are also interested in fashion weeks in the rest of the world," Zhou said.

"For our models, they've got one more experience in participating in a fashion week. Dunedin boasts the world's only 120-metre long runway. It's a rare experience for them to walk on that."

The international exposure complemented the models' immersion in a comprehensive study of fashion and performance, she said.

"It brings us brand new experience and provides our models with another opportunity of presenting themselves on international runways.

"At the same time, the co-operation also promotes exchanges between our two institutions in the field of fashion."

Zhou said she was grateful for the international opportunities, which also attracted more students into the modelling major course that she founded.

Many of the Shanghai models, officially welcomed to Dunedin at a ceremony at the city's Chinese Gardens this morning, had modelled for top brands like Armani and Balenciaga, Zhou said.

They had also travelled to France, Austria, Egypt and America in international exchanges with China as part of their study in the university's undergraduate fashion performance and planning major.

As part of the Dunedin-Shanghai collaboration, two young Shanghai designers have been given direct entry as finalists in this year's iD Dunedin International Emerging Designer Awards.

The woman behind the establishment of iD Dunedin Fashion Week 15 years ago, Dr Margo Barton, who is Otago Polytechnic's School of Design academic leader and principal lecturer (fashion), said enhancing relations with Shanghai was a thrilling development.

"We're really excited to have the Shanghai designers as a guaranteed part of the awards, and those beautiful models, who were a real hit this year, returning to the iD catwalk," Barton said.

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