Estère at 2022 WOW Awards Show

Here are the 2022 World of WearableArt™ (WOW) Award winners, with the Supreme WOW Award going to Hawke’s Bay artist Kate MacKenzie – the second time she has been bestowed the coveted top prize.

MacKenzie is among 21 award winners in the 2022 World of WearableArt Awards Competition, in which more than NZD$185,000 of prize money was on offer, across three recurring sections, Aotearoa, Avant-garde and Open, as well as three new sections in 2022: Architecture, Elizabethan Era and Monochromatic.

For the duration of the three-week 2022 season, the TSB Arena stage came alive with this year’s 88 finalist entries by 103 designers representing 20 countries and regions around the world.

WOW Competition Director Heather Palmer says, “We have been waiting for an incredibly long time to share the work of our 2022 finalist designers with the world and finally we can give each of the garments their moment to shine on the WOW stage. To see the passion, innovation and dedication of this year’s finalists is incredibly affirming and it is heartening to see the wearable art movement around the globe remains alive and well. We celebrate the achievement of this year’s finalists and also look ahead to the 2023 Competition with much anticipation!”

WOW is New Zealand’s most spectacular theatrical stage production. The 2022 Show includes over 100 dancers, kapa haka performers (Ngāti Pōneke) and aerialists, as well as spectacular headline performances by New Zealand musicians Estère, and Sharn Te Pou.

The first round of judging to select finalists took place in 2021 by a panel comprising WOW Founder and resident judge Dame Suzie Moncrieff, designer and co-founder of Zambesi Elisabeth Findlay, and acclaimed New Zealand sculptor Jeff Thomson. In addition, they have been joined by International Guest Judge – award-winning costume designer Alexandra Byrne; The Residency Experience Award Judge – Swedish-born fashion activist and celebrity stylist, B Åkerlund; and Wētā Workshop Emerging Designer Award Judge – Co-founder, CEO and Creative Director of Wētā Workshop, Sir Richard Taylor.

Of the Supreme WOW Award winner, the Judges said, “We are in awe of the designer’s resourcefulness in use of the vintage china cabinet and Singer sewing machine drawers. It perfectly captures what we mean when we say wearable art. It is refined, sculptural and tells a story.”

WOW attracted over 60,000 to Wellington’s TSB arena, with around 35,000 travelling from out of town. WOW contributes nearly $28m to the local economy in Te Whanganui-a-Tara.

The full list of winners is below.


Supreme WOW Award Winner

Supreme WOW Award Runner-up

Dame Suzie Moncrieff Award

Aotearoa Section

Avant-garde Section

Monochromatic Section

Open Section

Architecture Section

Elizabethan Era Section

First-time Entrant Award

Student Innovation Award

Sustainability Award

Wearable Technology Award

New Zealand Design Award

International Design Award: United Kingdom & Europe

International Design Award: Asia

International Design Award: Americas

International Design Award: Australia & Pacific

International Design Award: Overall Winner

Wētā Workshop Emerging Designer Award

The Residency Experience Award

Stuff People’s Choice Award