WOW - World of WearableArt Award Show

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WOW - World of Wearable Art

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Ghost Orchid, Ruth Carlile, New Zealand


Float, Fly, Flow

Using the magic and illusion of UV light, create a garment to perform in and WOW the audience that appears to float, fly, flow through space and levitate above the stage.

The key principal of black light or ultra violet light (UV) garment is the inability of the human eye to distinguish black objects from a black background, given the designer the opportunity to create magical visual illusions.

Materials used need to be UV reactive e.g. White 100% cotton fabrics, fluorescent spandex or nylon lycra, fluorescent netting, UV reactive paints.

We suggest using a black UV lightbulb to check your design progress.


Illumination Illusion: FAQs

The Illumination Illusion section is an audience favourite – a delight for the eyes and the imagination. Designers entering this section use the magic of UV light to create garments that appear to float, fly and flow across the stage, using the magic of negative space and optical illusion. 

If you’re thinking of entering the Illumination Illusion section, please read the answers to these frequently asked questions.

Should I use a black light to test my materials?

Yes! Please check that your materials glow under black light in a dark room before you start making your entry. How disappointing to complete your entry, and realise it doesn’t glow as you had intended. Please also consider the intensity of the glow, and if it will have the same impact on stage when it is viewed from a distance, as it appears in your home or studio.

Where can I buy a black light?

You can purchase a new black light torch for between NZD$10-30 from your local lighting store or online depositories such as Amazon, Deal Extreme or Jaycar Electronics.

Do I need to provide a black cat suit to wear under my garment?

If your garment exposes any area of the models skin, please provide a black cat suit, or other garments such as gloves, a balaclava or shoes to cover their skin. If you select a cat suit, balaclava or mask that covers the models face, please ensure their visibility is not impaired.

Are there certain materials that glow better than others?

We have found that white 100% cotton fabrics, fluorescent spandex, nylon lycra, fluorescent netting and UV reactive paints tend to glow best, but we encourage you to push the boundaries – just make sure you keep your black light torch handy to test!

Do I need to photograph my entry under black light?

It is extremely helpful for us to see photos of your garment taken in black light AND in normal light so we can clearly see how your entry is intended to be worn.

Can I use lighting in my entry?

No. All entries must use materials that glow under ultra violet (UV) light and must not include other lighting technologies.

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