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World of Wearableart™ Announce 103 Finalists

World of Wearableart™ Announce 103 Finalists From Around the World

World of WearableArt™ (WOW®) has confirmed that 103 finalist garments by 121 designers from 14 countries around the world will compete for the 2017 Awards. The finalist garments will be showcased in the WOW Awards Show in Wellington from 21 September to 8 October 2017.

Now in its 29th year, WOW’s combination of an international design competition inside a spectacular stage production is New Zealand’s single largest annual theatrical production and a must-see event for close to 60,000 people every year.

WOW Chief Executive Gisella Carr says, “WOW’s international reach is becoming more and more evident, something we’ve worked hard to achieve, while at the same time retaining its unique New Zealand heart. Each year, WOW continues to attract an exciting number and range of designers due to the high awareness of the WOW brand, designers’ own networks, and WOW’s work with tertiary institutions around the globe. Many people may not realise just how many of our international designers come to Wellington in September, taking part in WOW’s Designer Programme, and further strengthening WOW’s international network.

“We encourage and celebrate a huge range of diversity in our designers, from those with professional training and careers, to those who start with a gem of an idea, and have the courage, tenacity and sheer determination to create something extraordinary outside of their own field. On stage, we see the work of international fashion designers, artists from the creative and industrial sectors, alongside students and first-time enthusiasts. This incredible cross-section of entrants is not only reflected in how the garments look, but also in their materials and construction, with every year bringing explorations into new techniques.”

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The 103 finalist garments will now compete for awards across six sections: three recurrent sections – Aotearoa New Zealand, Open and Avant-Garde; and three sections with design briefs specific to 2017 – Red, Illumination Illusion: Float, Fly, Flow, and Weta Workshop Costume & Film: Science Fiction.

For WOW 2017 Show Director Kip Chapman, the first round of judging was also the first opportunity for him to see the 2017 finalists, “Now that I’ve seen all the garments, it’s absolutely ‘game on’ time! Each WOW Show must be completely unique and needs more than a year in the planning. My creative team has been working alongside the production team on the staging, lighting and music, and how the overall show will look since before last year’s show closed. And now, finally, I have my cast of incredible garments. Bringing all the components together is like an enormous puzzle, and I know the 2017 show is going to be amazing. I can’t wait for opening night!”

The first round of judging by WOW’s 2017 competition judges Dame Suzie Moncrieff, fashion designer and artist Kerrie Hughes and artist Michel Tuffery took place at the National WOW Museum in Nelson from 7-9 July 2017. The finalist garments will now go through two further stages of judging, where they are assessed on stage, in motion. At this point the judging panel will be joined by Sir Richard Taylor from Weta Workshop and Valérie Desjardins from Cirque du Soleil, who will judge specific sections and awards. The finalists will be seen in performance by the public at the WOW Awards Show from 21 September to 8 October 2017 before they move to the National WOW Museum for an exhibition, opening in December 2017.

Of the 103 finalist garments, 48 are by 61 New Zealand designers, working as individuals or in collaboration.

Australia (7 finalist garments)
Erica Gray
Glenys Mann, Sue Coppock & Libby Witchell
Catherine O'Leary
R. R. Pascoe
Sarah Seahorse & Luna Aquatica
Svenja (2 entries)

China (7 finalist garments)
Wenzhi Gao
Fangyu He
Tao Long
Xuancheng Liu & Chang Xu
Liang Ma
Ran Xu
Mengtong Yang

Hong Kong (4 finalist garments)
Tsz Ching Kam
Wing Yan Ng
Hei Man Sham
Ka Lam Tam

India (5 finalist garments)
Jubinav Chadha
Akhilesh Gupta
Sandip Jaiswal & Ashish Anand
Shantanu Singh
Shantanu Singh & Aryaman Vishnu

Indonesia (2 finalist garments)
Rinaldy Yunardi (2 entries)

Malaysia (1 finalist garment)
Chin San Sze

Netherlands (4 finalist garments)
Elvira ‘t Hart (2 entries)
Tiel Janssen
Saar Snoek

New Zealand (48 finalist garments)
Auckland Ian Bernhard
(13) Alana Braddon-Parsons, Sophie Smythe & Sarah Cooper-Slee
Beatrice Carlson
Lucy Danner
Carolyn Gibson
Amabel Hunting, Diana Albarran Gonzalez & Anke Nienhuis
Judith Keith
Rodney Leong
Hayden Matheson
Luiz Fernando Sereno Penna
Ann Skelly
Ethan Williams
Ingrid Worrall, Kelly Rose Leece & Sophie McIntyre
Bay of Plenty Jo Marie Odgers
Canterbury Janice Elliott
(5) Natasha English & Tatyanna Meharry
Naomi Flasher
Tina Hutchison-Thomas
Loretta Sloan
Hawke’s Bay Keryn Whitney
Marlborough Helen Millen
Nelson / Tasman Sue Cederman
(4) Martin de Ruyter, Karen Stade & Troy Stade
Toy Murchie & Kas Muller
Mike Ward & Jonty Ward
Northland Noriko Noda
Lynda O'Rorke
Otago Debbie Paton
Manawatu-Wanganui Jennie Munro
Waikato Jenny Jack (2 garments)
Lisa Vanin
Darren Wise
Wellington Rebecca Bond
(14) Maree Booth
Kayla Christensen
Fifi Colston
Etainia Dagda
Florence Dosdane
Kate Fisher
Ross Hardie & Rachel Hardie
Lyndal Linton
Renee Louie
Ali Middleton
Vicky Robertson
Amelia Taverner & Eleanor Beeden
Marie Wright & Taralee Freeman
West Coast Craig McMillan

Singapore (3 finalist garments)
Galina Mihaleva (3 entries)

Spain (1 finalist garment)
Anna Cortada

Switzerland (1 finalist garment)
Annina Gull

Taiwan (4 finalist garments)
Yi-Ting Hsieh, Yi-Ting Lai & Pei-Chen Liao (2 entries)
Chia Li Hong
Pei-Yu Hsu

United Kingdom (6 finalist garments)
Gayane Arzumanova & Yui Jiang
Adam McAlavey
Liam Brandon Murray
Alina Stanila
Maria Tsopanaki & Dimitri Mavinis
Sara Whetherly

United States (10 finalist garments)
Lynn Christiansen
Grace DuVal
Ben Gould & Dawn Mostow
Julian Hartzog
Dawn Mostow & Lana Crooks
Jessica Rowell
Marjorie Taylor
Annie Temmink
Baroness Varcra III
Michelle Yeager & Tim Merz

The 2017 WOW Awards Sections

Aotearoa New Zealand is inspired by New Zealand’s rich Māori culture and celebrates this extraordinary part of the world. It’s about the power of the land, the spirit of this place, the diverse cultures who live here, and the influence these forces have on design and creativity.

Open has no thematic boundaries and gives designers complete freedom in concept, construction and materials. This section encourages a high degree of originality and innovation.

Avant Garde is for wearable work of arts that are revolutionary, extravagant and extroverted, but still stylish and made with skill.

Red celebrates the colour of extremes. Red is intense, packed with emotion ranging from passionate love to violence and warfare. Red is Cupid and the Devil, blood and fire. It can be joyous and delicate or powerful and cruel. All visible surface materials of the garment must be the colour red.

Illumination Illusion: Float, Fly, Flow uses the magic and illusion of UV lighting, so that the garments appear to float, fly, and flow through the space above the stage.

Weta Workshop Costume & Film: Science Fiction is the opportunity to imagine the thousands of other worlds that could reside in the universe and the entities who dwell there. This is the space for extraterrestrials and futuristic beings.

WOW Key Dates:
7-9 July First judging
18 July Finalist Garments announced
3-20 September Second judging, and Final judging
21 September Opening night
22 September Awards night
8 October Closing night

Tickets on sale now at


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