During her final year of study for a four-year Bachelor of Design Degree at Massey University, last year, Renee says she sometimes worked on her WOW® entry at university, and sometimes worked on it at her home, which was close by. That meant regular, brisk walks to avoid too many puzzled stares from passing motorists and local residents, as her arms were usually laden with some strangely-shaped items.

Her WOW® entry also formed part of her university graduate fashion collection, but rather than aiming for a place in the world of haute couture, Renee says her collection was very much in the genre of wearable art.

“A lot of people didn’t really understand what I was doing; even the other students who were also majoring in fashion. We had to put together our graduate fashion collections, and most people were designing and making high fashion clothing, whereas mine was among the more adventurous collections.”

But, the lecturers assessing Renee’s work clearly ‘got it.’ She graduated with First Class Honours.

Now working as a retail assistant in fashion designer Jane Daniels’ newest Wellington City store, Renee says she would one day love to work in an industry that allows her to create costumes and wearable art.

This is the fifth year Renee’s wearable art has graced the stage at the World of Wearableart™ Awards Shows.

She first entered the design competition in 2009, designing ‘Points of Conservation’ with her best friend Kayla Christensen.  The pair, who met when they were just pre-schoolers in kindergarten, entered WOW again in 2010, with ‘Russian By.’

“We skipped entering in 2011 because we were both just so busy with our studies. We were doing the same Degree, and in 2012, we had to design separate entries for WOW because our garments were also part of our university papers.”

Renee’s garment ‘Give Way to Me’ made it into the 2012 show, and she again entered WOW last year, with ‘Reborn Warrior.’

“I think everyone enters WOW, hoping to win an award, but it’s just so exciting to have your garment accepted for the show,” she says.

“When I didn’t enter in 2011, I felt really low. If I’m not a part of WOW, I feel as though I’m missing out.  I’m so passionate about it. I guess I’m addicted to WOW.”

– Victoria Clark