We sat down with 2022 Supreme WOW Award winner, Kate MacKenzie from Havelock North, New Zealand, to chat about her work. Kate’s garment, Wanton Widow, captivated the judges, who said it was “refined, sculptural and tells a story”, and “perfectly captures what we mean when we say wearable art”.

Q. What inspires you to create?

A. What I like is to invent new things, that’s why I do it. It is the excitement of discovering something new and inventing something no one has seen before, and I think you have more chance of doing that by using a different medium each year.

Q. What inspired you to create Wanton Widow?

A. A few things really. It probably started with the China cabinet, I always wanted to create a garment using a China cabinet and old furniture, so once I decided on that the story came to me – about a widow who felt like fragile China for display only, and that story grew along with the rest of the garment. It’s all about mourning protocol, back in the early 19th Century, but also references today, where we can now mourn openly, and weep and feel human emotion without having to hide it. She’s a rebel of the 19th Century and doesn’t want to wear black anymore – she’s finished her grieving – I guess she’s a bit of a trailblazer too!

New Zealand designer Kate MacKenzie (right) receives her awards for 2022 Supreme WOW Award and Open Section winner for her garment Wanton Widow (Left).


Q. This is your second Supreme WOW Award win – what is the difference this time?

A. I’m in shock and I feel really humble because the competition was amazing this year. I think this time is more special, to be honest with you as I feel a little bit more connected with Wanton Widow.

A. What does WOW mean to you?

It means the world to me because where else as an artist can you have your work in front of an audience of 60,000 people? There’s no show like this in the world, and I’m just so grateful to Dame Suzie Moncrieff and the whole WOW team who are just so supportive, they know what they are doing, and I’m just addicted!

Poly Nation, Kate MacKenzie, New Zealand. 2014, Supreme WOW Award Winner and South Pacific Section Winner.


Kate Mackenzie’s WOW finalist garments at a glance:


Our Designer Profiles are created to give an insight into our artists, their processes and creations. We’ll be creating one every month – if you’d like to create a profile with us, please contact Brianne Kerr on brianne@worldofwearableart.com to complete a Q&A.

Calling all creators! Entries for the 2023 Competition are open. You could be next to see your creation on the 2023 WOW Awards Show Stage.