The World of WearableArt or WOW, is an international design competition, held annually in Wellington, New Zealand. It attracts entries from over 40 countries and draws massive crowds of more than 60,000. For designers it is an incredible platform to unleash their creativity.
I got hooked on WOW back in 2005, after attending the show in Nelson. It was like nothing I had ever seen before and I just knew I had to be part of it. I had just started my bag business the year before, so maybe that gave me the confidence to give it a go. And here I am, almost 20 years later, still balancing WOW with my bag business. It has been a challenge, especially as the business grew and became full time, but I'm proud to say I've managed to enter every single year. WOW is like a bug that bites you and never lets go! As soon as one show ends, your mind starts racing with thoughts of next year's show. It's become quite the addiction, but one that I proudly embrace.
My WOW experience has had its highs and lows. Endless hours of effort go into creating a garment, but you don’t know until after the first round of judging whether it has made it into the show. It is super disappointing if it hasn’t, but when it does, it's mind-blowing! And it is an incredibly special feeling seeing it up on the stage.
WOW has pushed me to push myself, to experiment with materials and techniques I never would have tried otherwise. At first, I relied on my sewing skills for my creations, but then I realised I needed a break from sewing after working on bags all day. That pushed me to explore other materials, and I discovered a love for working with hard materials such as copper and fiberglass. It has compelled me to learn new skills and grow as a designer.
Take a look at the WOW digital collection of past winners, including the piece I created with my husband and son for the 2022 show. X-ray - 2nd prize winner in Aotearoa section.