The World of WearableArt (WOW)

Published : 22/01/2019 19:46:18
Categories : Written by Eugenia Zorina

The World of WearableArt (WOW) Awards Competition is an internationally renowned design competition that attracts entries from over 40 countries each year. For three weeks every year, WOW demonstrates the best of these creations in a spectacular show that takes over New Zealand’s vibrant capital city of Wellington in an explosion of creativity (WOW worldofwearableart.com)

Some of the most prominent and striking works (created for the WOW Awards Show over a number of years) have travelled to Russia for the first time in the autumn of 2018. Erarta - the Modern Art Museum in St.Petersburg - is the first Russian museum honored to present these masterpieces of design.

The visitors will have a chance to marvel at a great variety of astonishing garments:

  • a coquettish dress made of pink fiberglass designed to make the wearer feel like a princess;
  • the flamboyant American Dream resembling a fast and stylish retro car;
  • a piece made of fabric, papier-mâché and wire turning anyone into a fantasy deep sea creature;
  • a garment shaped like a Gothic castle;
  • and many more (see erarta.com)

In my winter trip to St. Petersburg, I was lucky to see this exhibition.
Absolutely awesome! Every artwork could be looked at forever! Details of costumes, technique, thoroughness!..
But often the most interesting thing is the idea that the author put into his costume.

More about the contest can be found on the official website https://www.worldofwearableart.com
And I want to share my photo-impressions.

"I'll get my kick on Route 66.

'Since I was small I had a passion for making anything and everything', says Sarah Thomas. 'I always had great support and encouragement from my parents.

Tattooing - a Pacific art.
A trained couture designer, Lindah Lepou promotes Pacific design in all of her work. This creation is inspired by a Pacific legend where tattooing in Samoa was done only on women on rank. Because of this distinction, tattooing later became very popular among the youth of Samoa, who considered tattoos to be a mark of their manhood.
Chiefs and their families often had their entire faces and bodies covered with designs of great intricacy and beauty. An un-tattooed face was decidedly unattractive.

Inspired by the delightful Thorny Devil lizard from Australia and its spiky multi-coloured, armour-like skin.

15 kilograms of sheet copper was acid-etched and hand-cut into 465 individual parts. It was then filed, sanded and assembled using 230 screw nuts and 1500 jump rings to create the Lizard Warrior, Horridus.

I've got you under my skin.
Motherhood led Marjolein Dallinga to the 'magical' medium of felt. A trained painter, the Netherlands-born artist found herself restricted by traditional forms. She is now mostly interested in the ultimate expression of felt, a medium she is daily experimenting with.

Exploring & celebrating the versatility of raw wool.
"The idea for Totally Sheepish was to make raw fleece from our pet sheep, called High Jump, and make an elaborate garment by manipulating the wool in many different ways, spinning, knitting, crocheting, needle and wet-felting and hot-moulding."

Sarah Peacock has Certificate in Fashion and Technology and first enterd the World of WearebleArt Competition in 1994.

She sees her sculptures as reflection on everyday observations, but the wool plays a part in the way the ideas are realised, as it has its own demands.

A living portrait of historical exchange of gifts, adorned with ceramic feathers and coins.


"The Exchange reinterprets and explores a contemporary picture of the Treaty of Waitangi. The cloak and cape each carries a different tradition of cultural history. The links of the past, present and future's dialogue continue to be forget, travelling between the parties fragile chains."

A tribute to women living with cancer, and their struggle to maintain their dignity & beauty.

Walker is a woodworker and artist in Juneau, Alaska, and has been creating wearable art garments for 12 years. "Carpenter by trade, artist for the liove of it, I have taken my skills in woodworking and put them into creating wooden garments, combining my two passion"

David Walker says that World of WearableArt has inspired him to create his best work, and given him undreamed-of international exposure.
He intends to retire from his job and dedicate himself to art full-time.
"World of WearableArt is more than a wearable art show to me. It is a special place where an incredible collection of artistic people gather together to show their work, mingle and encourage each other... you feel more like a part of a family than a contestant in a competition."

A self-sufficient form of independence without any interference from foreign substances such as thread or glue.
loops, originating from the revolutionary technique of seamless knitting, is a garment that demonstrates an organic sense of wholeness.
The design uses a laser-cut pattern that interlaces with each other to form an interesting surface texture. The same loops are used to join one panel to another.

As the reptile sheds its skin, it lifts & becomes translucent, making way for the second skin.
A reptile's discarded skin was the inspiration for Hayley May and Fiona Christie's eerie and intricate design - a response to the 2009 competition's theme of Fold. Influenced by reptilian skin and made up of scales in geometric shapes, fabric has been folded in three directions to form scaled plates of armour over folded soft skin.

Instead of colour, the pair dared to use shades of pale-white fabrics in lycra, tulle, and nylon. Under the stage lights, shadow and subile reflections brought their frilled and folded form to life.

An opportunity to create and present a garment without boundaries.

Chica was hand-crafted. A candyfloss-pink dress meets a Kiwi man. It may seem like an unusual pairing, but Peter Wakeman says that is the beauty of World of WearableArt.
"It doesn't matter who you are or what you do. Anybody from any walk of life can have a go."

When the commercial cleaner and boatbuilding enthusiast first encountered wearable art, "I was just taken by the freedom of creativity", he says. "After eighth long months, the finishing touch was to spray-paint the dress a glossy pink."

Peter Wakerman has a message for anyone thinking of entering: "For anybody, particularly men, all you have to do is make it happen... I feel like I've found an artistic avenue, to give exposure to my creations. It's pretty much a licence to create."

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