World of WearableArt Awards show returns in September

New Zealand’s most spectacular theatrical stage production, the beloved World of WearableArt™ (WOW) Awards Show, is back.

Over 100 designers from 20 countries and regions around the world were selected as the finalists for the 2021 WOW Awards Show, with the event devastatingly cancelled just weeks before opening due to COVID-19.

Those finalists will now get their moment to shine as the iconic event returns from 29 September to 16 October in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington. The capital city will host an audience of over 60,000 from across the country, with designers coming from across the world.

More than $185,000 of awards and prizes are up for grabs, across three recurring sections – Aotearoa, Avant-garde and Open – as well as three new sections in 2022 – Architecture, Elizabethan Era and Monochromatic.

The Show itself is legendary. With a new cutting-edge creative vision this year by Executive Creative Director – Las Vegas show-maker, creative producer of America’s Got Talent, and co-executive producer of American Idol, Brian Burke -alongside Show Director New Zealand’s Malia Johnston, each night the stage will come alive with incredible works of wearable art, dancers, aerialists, and foot-tapping beats created by music director Paul McLaney and composer Eden Mulholland.

A digital effects team from Belgium, Drop the Spoon, will add to the spectacle with breath-taking AV creations.

The first round of judging to select finalists took place in 2021 by a panel comprising WOW Founder and resident judge Dame Suzie Moncrieff, designer and co-founder of Zambesi Elisabeth Findlay, and acclaimed New Zealand sculptor Jeff Thomson.

Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images for World of WearableArt

WOW Founder and resident judge, Dame Suzie Moncrieff says, “After two difficult years of having to cancel WOW shows, we are looking forward to bringing back the magic of our theatrical event, and celebrating our amazing designers from all over the world and their incredible garments. We welcome  our audiences back to Wellington and can’t wait take them on a spectacular journey of theatre, art and design.”

Alongside the main judging panel for 2022 are:

  • International Guest Judge – Academy Award-winning costume designer Alexandra Byrne
  • The Residency Experience Award Judge – Swedish-born fashion activist and celebrity stylist, B Åkerlund
  • Weta Workshop Emerging Designer Award Judge – Co-founder, CEO and Creative Director of Weta Workshop, Sir Richard Taylor

WOW Competition Director Heather Palmer says, “I ​have seen thousands of entries over the past 30 years, and the innovation and imagination of our designers never ceases to amaze me. Every year we see new perspectives and fresh approaches to wearable art, and just when I think I might have seen it all, a garment comes in that is completely unexpected and like nothing we’ve seen before.

“Creating an entry for WOW is a significant creative challenge for designers at the best of times but it is especially humbling to look at the work of our 2022 finalists and know about the resilience and determination that they’ve all needed to complete their works of wearable art in the midst of a pandemic.”

The finalist entries will go through two further stages of judging, where they are assessed on stage, before opening night of the WOW Awards Show on 29 September at TSB Arena.

Tickets are now on sale.

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