In 2017, 122 designers from 13 countries exhibited their works of art on stage for the whole world to see in the World of WearableArt Awards Show. 

After spending months creating their garments and nervously awaiting preliminary judging results, the finalist designers travelled from all around the world and converged in Wellington for WOW Awards week.

Over three amazing days they reunited with old friends and made new ones, shared ideas and inspiration with each other, and celebrated seeing their work come to life on stage in front of an audience of 60,000!

One of the highlights of WOW Awards week is the annual Designers’ Day programme.  A day designed to stimulate creativity and innovation, provide networking and professional development opportunities and give our designers more insight in the world of WOW!

This year, designers were treated to an exclusive glimpse into the backstage world of WOW with tours led by our Head of Show Production and Wardrobe Manager.  This was followed by special presentations given by the 2017 WOW Show Director, Kip Chapman, and Cirque du Soleil’s Head of Research & Development, Valérie Desjardins.


In the afternoon, designers took part in two interactive workshops.  The first was led by Costume Designer and Artisan, Miodrag Guberinic, who talked to the designers about working with Worbla, an incredibly versatile thermoplastic material.  Designers had the opportunity to experiment with different types of Worbla using heat guns and a range of sculpting tools.  Our thanks to Worbla New Zealand who generously supported this workshop by providing the materials!

The other workshop was run by the team from Academy Award-winning Weta Workshop and was a fascinating opportunity to learn the intricacies of hair punching and knotting – the same techniques used to create beautiful wigs for elves, hairy Hobbit feet, and hyper-realistic hair on Gallipoli’s larger-than-life figures.



Mayor of Wellington, Justin Lester, joined us all for lunch and extended a warm welcome to the city for all the designers.

Another highlight of the day was announcement of the 2018 Competition section themes by WOW Founder, Dame Suzie Moncrieff.  Dame Suzie gave a presentation to the designers about the six worlds (sections) of the 2018 Competition and shared insights into what inspires her.  You could almost hear the creativity bubbling away amongst everyone after that!



It was an absolute pleasure to host the 2017 finalist designers during Awards week and in particular to put together the Designers’ Day programme and see it embraced so wholeheartedly by everyone who attended.  Now we are planning for 2018!

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank our partners and special guests who made 2017 Designers’ Day possible.  Your support and engagement helped us to deliver an incredible event.  Thank you.

Inspired to be a part of the WOW design community?  Entries now open for the 2018 competition.

Photography by: Mark Tantrum