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This year we were delighted to welcome Los Angeles-based fashion activist and celebrity stylist B. Åkerlund to Wellington for the 2019 WOW Show!

B. Åkerlund joined us for the opening week of the show as our international guest judge in this year’s Competition and to present the inaugural Residency Experience Award. The first recipient of this award was Kirsten Fletcher from Australia with her garment Woven In-tent, an entry in the Avant-garde Section which was created out of reclaimed tents, cane, wire and steel bones. Åkerlund was impressed with the garment’s incredible message around sustainability and described it as pure couture and an exquisitely finished work.

Åkerlund was accompanied on her New Zealand experience by Ekaterina Belinskaya, a photographer who creates fairytale-style imagery and who has worked alongside prominent designers, stylists and make-up artists from around the world. Åkerlund and Belinskaya are long time creative partners and together they create phenomenal visuals rich in storytelling and style.

In addition to judging the 2019 World of WearableArt Awards Åkerlund, along with Belinskaya, collaborated with World of WearableArt and WellingtonNZ on a two-day location-based photoshoot. Iconic Wellington destinations showcasing coastal and rural landscapes at Boomrock and the Wellington waterfront as well as the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (Te Papa) were the chosen backdrops to feature six award-winning garments from the World of WearableArt’s historic collection. Åkerlund styled herself in the garments, giving them a different aesthetic.

The result was a set of visually-dramatic images, an epic representation of this creative collaboration! A huge thank you to all who helped make this happen, including M·A·C Cosmetics, WellingtonNZ and all the locations and venues who kindly welcomed us into their space to create these beautiful shots.

Looking Out of This World at Boomrock
Deadly Beauty, Zhang Xi, Donghua University, China (2015)

Deadly Beauty won the Avant-garde Section in the 2015 World of WearableArt Awards Competition as well as placing Runner-up to the Supreme WOW Award!

Spirit Bone, Guo Xiaotong, China (2018)

Spirit Bone was entered into the 2018 Reflective Surfaces Section and was awarded the Weta Workshop Emerging Designer Award. Guo Xiaotong flew back to Wellington in 2019 to complete a four-week internship with the Academy Award-winning production studio.

‘Shell-shocked’ on the Wellington Waterfront
Shell, Zhang Qiyao, Donghua University, China

Shell won the Student Innovation Award in the 2018 World of WearableArt Awards, an award acknowledging innovation and standout design by a student or recent graduate.

Celebrating Creativity at Te Papa

Finale: Bouquet, an installation by Australian artist Nike Savvas, captures a moment of jubilation, with confetti caught mid-fall in a celebration that never ends.

The Stitch Witch, Sarah Seahorse & Luna Aquatica, Victoria University, Australia (2015)

The Stitch Witch won the International Design Award: Australia & Pacific in the 2015 Awards Competition and was created out of scraps of material found on the artists’ studio floor!

Behind the scenes

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Discover the World of WearableArt through our hub. Be inspired by breathtaking creations in this extraordinary fusion of art and fashion with profiles of past WOW designers, and stay updated with the latest news and updates for the annual WOW Show.