WOW asked three award winning designers to offer advice, tips and tricks, from their own experience creating an entry for the WOW Illumination Illusion section.

I Ris(e), Sue Cederman, New Zealand

Sue Cederman

You have entered WOW many times. What was it that attracted you to the Illumination Illusion (UV) section?
I absolutely love the UV section because the unexpected can happen right before your eyes. It’s a fun section to enter a garment into as you watch the garment transform into something alive when the black lights go on.  

What do you think was most successful about your entries under black light?
Being able to make objects look like they were flying – i.e. butterflies fluttering in the air – and the gorgeous colours that you can make by blending the fluoro colours one on top of the other. Also, the ability to hide the body and make the garment come alive on stage.

How did you check that your materials glowed under black light before you started making your entry?
I used my hallway for looking at materials under the black light (it needs to be pitch black) before starting to create the garment.

Why do you think Illumination Illusion is such a crowd pleaser?
It has the Wow factor. It is magical to watch. Things look like they are flying or floating; the unexpected happens.

Do you have a favourite material or fabric that glows best under black light?
I like to use fluoro spray paint on frost cloth/interfacing as it makes the garment look ethereal.  Layering the frost cloth can hide the bright fluoro colours and make them softer looking.

What was the most difficult part of creating a garment for the UV section, if any?
The most difficult part of creating my garments is having to work in the hallway. It’s such a small space but the only place in the house that is pitch black.  Having to put the garment on and off the mannequin in a small space is a bit of a challenge but worth it when you turn the black light on and see the amazing results.

What advice would you give to a designer entering the UV section for the first time?
Try to use bright fluoro colours as they show up beautifully under the black lights on stage.  White tends to look like a pale blue. Let your imagination run away with you as anything is possible in this section. Don’t be afraid to experiment; some of my best results are mistakes that I made through experimenting. Have Fun

Me & My Shadow, Cassandra Thomson, New Zealand

Cassandra Thomson

You have entered WOW many times. What was it that attracted you to the UV section? 
I loved the possibilities that you could create something that could surprise the audience.

What do you think was most successful about your entries under black light?  
The models could really move around in them and have fun.

How did you check that your materials glowed under black light before you starting making your entry? 
I have a black light at home that I check that the material I am using glows and to see what colour it actually shows up under the light (some colours glow better than others).

Why do you think Illumination Illusion is such a crowd pleaser?
On stage the Illumination designs really take a life of their own and look spectacular.

Do you have a favourite material or fabric that glows best under black light? 
Cotton and parka nylon (which is very cheap to buy).

What was the most difficult part of creating a garment for the UV section, if any? 
My first time, it was finding the right fabric, then making sure you come up with something really original and make the most of being able to black out the model where you don’t want them to be seen.

What advice would you give to a designer entering the UV section for the first time? 
Think of a blank blackboard, then start sketching your design in white chalk to appreciate the look it would take under a black light.

 

Ghost Orchid, Ruth Carlile, New Zealand

Ruth Carlile

You have entered WOW many times. What was it that attracted you to the UV section?
The subject that I had in mind ‘Ghost Orchid’ fit the criteria for UV that year which was Black and White.

What do you think was most successful about your entries under black light?
Ghost Orchid had movement and surprise.

How did you check that your materials glowed under black light before you started making your entry?
I took some samples of fabric into the WOW museum to see if they would all work under UV. I know this is not possible for entrants outside of Nelson but checking under a black light is essential before starting on a project.

Why do you think Illumination Illusion is such a crowd pleaser?
It has a real surprise element.

Do you have a favourite material or fabric that glows best under black light?
I have only ever entered one entry in the UV section but lycra was very effective.

What was the most difficult part of creating a garment for the UV section, if any?
UV is no more difficult than any other WOW section. They are all require the extra mile!

What advice would you give to a designer entering the UV section for the first time?
Find a black light so you can see how things are going during your construction.