November 26, 2008


The World of WearableArt™ (WOW®) will hold its 21st show next year and to push designers in stimulating, new directions, some existing sections are getting new themes and a completely new section has been created.

The Montana World of WearableArt™ Awards Show is one of the most prestigious art competitions on the planet; described as a glorious rebellion against the mundane.  Entries flock in from the film, fashion, photography, craft, design, sculpting, drama and art world and designers are challenged to create something that has impact on a 40-metre arena stage, in one of seven sections.

"Designers stretched themselves to the edge of their imaginations in 2008, as seen in the winning creation Ornitho Maia by WETA costume designer Nadine Jaggi," says Suzie Moncrieff, WOW® Founder and Director.  "To continue to foster innovation and creativity we look at our section themes each year with fresh eyes, and we are delighted with the section briefs for 2009.  We hope designers will be duly inspired."

The Children’s Section for 2009 is, ‘At the bottom of the garden‘ encouraging designers to weave magic into the beauty of our natural flora and fauna, to create walking WearableArt for children.

WOW® has been described as, ‘an extravaganza that twists conventional perceptions of both art and fashion,’ and the Tourism New Zealand Avant Garde Section is a wonderful example of this.  Artists and designers have to create something that is revolutionary and extravagant, yet stylish and made with skill.  

The Air New Zealand South Pacific Section has an added layer of complexity for 2009 and requires designers to work with ‘patterns of the Pacific‘; drawing inspiration from Māori and South Pacific artists, carvers and weavers such as Michael Tuffery, Ralph Hotere, Cliff Whiting and Robyn Kahukiwa.

WOW® is not exclusive; entrants do not have to be professional designers or hold fine arts qualifications, ensuring new artists participate every year.  Some new entrants find the liberty of the American Express Open Section welcoming.  In this section there are no boundaries, no themes, no rules, giving designers freedom across construction, concept and materials.

Creating a garment that springs to life under illumination is a unique concept created by WOW® and is a favourite with the audience. The CentrePort Illumination Illusion® Section for 2009 is themed ‘Float, Fly, Flow‘ requiring designers to create something that appears to fly through space or levitate above the stage, using trickery of UV lighting.

Another crowd pleaser is the Shell Man Unleashed Section – running alternate years with Bizarre Bra® – and the 2009 theme is ‘Magnificent Men‘.  Designers are encouraged to be flamboyant, risky, inventive, and look back over the centuries to dream up a creation that will lift men out the drabness of today’s fashion.

WOW® 2008 judge and corrugated iron artist Jeff Thomson said of Ornitho Maia, "As an artist that works in one medium I can totally appreciate how challenging it is to limit yourself to one material; Nadine really pushed leather into another dimension."   Designers will be similarly stretched with the rousing new theme for the AT&T Section next year, called ‘Fold‘.  Designers need to work with ‘the transformation of the flat surface’ and bend, crease, crimple, drape, groove, layer, loop, plait, pleat, ply, pucker and wrinkle their material into sculptural WearableArt.

With more than $100,000 in prize money, the Montana WOW® Awards Show is a leading arts event on the international design, fashion and costume calendars attracting designers from the USA, UK, Australia, India, Japan, Thailand, Germany, The Netherlands, Israel, Fiji, and Canada, alongside global media to New Zealand.  The spectacular show runs for two weeks in September, in Wellington.


*Montana Wines from New Zealand are avid supporters of creativity, and are the naming partner of the WOW® Awards Show.

Simon Ungless, Director of Fashion for the School of Fashion at Academy of Art University in San Francisco said of the 2008 show, "It’s the most important event I have seen in years.  I am always looking for something new, and felt I was witnessing the phoenix rise from the flames of fashion, in the creativity and energy that is WOW®."   

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