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WearableArt founder awarded honorary doctorate

WearableArt founder awarded honorary doctorate

World of WearableArt (WOW) founder Dame Suzie Moncrieff has been awarded an honorary doctorate by Massey University for her contribution to the public in the field of art and design.

Dame Suzie will be conferred a Doctor of Fine Arts on May 29 at this year’s Wellington graduation ceremony for graduates from the College of Creative Arts.

In 1987 Dame Suzie founded and became the driving force of WOW, an instantly recogniseable acronym that is synonymous with innovative off-the-wall art and design interpretations.

The World of WearableArt Awards has grown from a largely community effort, taking art off the wall and placed it on the human body in extravagant and orginal ways, to become an international showcase which last year attracted more than half its entries from intyernational designers from countries such as
Taiwan to the Netherlands.

“In the early days I had no idea that it [WOW] would grow to the extent it has,” Dame Suzie says.

College Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Claire Robinson says Dame Suzie’s nomination recognises her outstanding service to arts in New Zealand, her contribution to the economy and the country’s international reputation as well as her ongoing support of creative programmes at Massey University during its heritage year.

“Dame Suzie has been a friend and mentor to creative arts education at Massey for many years. [Among its many contributions] World of WearableArt have sponsored an educational exchange for Massey fashion students with the San Francisco Academy of Art University.”

Head of Fashion at the School of Design, Sue Prescott, says Dame Suzie’s support saw a specific category created within the WOW awards to showcase design students and help boost their visibilty to the wider design industry.

“This has enabled students to push boundaries and produce work of a cross-disciplinary nature in an environment that also showcases practising and professional artists and designers.”

She and Professor Robinson note that Massey students have won top awards at the
shows, including Supreme Award winner Nadine Jaggi in 2008, Luka Mues and Loren

Shields in 2010, Katie Collier and Sophie Littin in 2011 and the 2012 WOW Factor Award winner Rebecca Maxwell who featured throughout the 2013 WOW promotion campaign.

Dame Suzie says in terms of its design influence WOW’s reach is spread globally with regular workshops taught at schools and universities, previously unfamiliar with the WearableArt concept, from the UK, India, China and the United States.

“What the teachers at these institutions love about WOW is that it encourages the students to be innovative and original.”

It’s a message Dame Suzie plans to impart in an acceptance speech she will deliver once she is conferred with her doctorate.

“I want to tell the gradates to follow their dreams; against the odds, I have been lucky enough to see my own dreams come to fruition and WOW grow into what it is today.”


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