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Announcing the 2024 WOW Competition Finalists: The Pinnacle of Creativity, Curiosity and Pure Escapism


The 34th annual World of WearableArt™ (WOW) Show will be a celebration of creativity, curiosity and joy, with the 2024 WOW Competition finalists announced today.

This year 91 finalist entries have been selected to progress to the 2024 WOW Show: DREAM AWAKE following First Judging, with extraordinary use of diverse materials pushing the boundaries of wearable art.

With finalist entries from Tauranga to Turkey, Hastings to Hong Kong, Collingwood to Canada, and Moutere to Mexico, audiences can expect to see creations crafted from car parts, human hair, digital waste, antique silk, roadwork safety equipment, old mattresses, lamp shades, gutter guard, and some surprising takes on New Zealand wool.  

“The ingenuity and imagination of the designers are, as ever, awe-inspiring,” says WOW Head of Competition Sarah Nathan.

“WOW Competition entries are works of art, that so often become a barometer of the world around us. In recent years many of the design narratives have been noticeably serious, reflecting the issues and mood of the time. This year, whilst there are still garments that talk to critical topics such as human acceptance, mental health, and environmental impacts, there is a very strong vision for joy, love, escapism and even frivolity, indicating that might be just what we all need right now.”

The WOW Show offers a prestigious platform for designers to share their artistic visions, with finalists undergoing two further rounds of judging. Winners will be announced at the WOW Awards Night on Friday 27 September at TSB Arena. The judging panel includes WOW Founder Dame Suzie Moncrieff, James Dobson, Creative Director of New Zealand fashion label, Jimmy D, and Wētā Workshop Creative Art Director Gino Acevedo.  

With over $185,000 in awards and prizes, the competition includes three recurring sections – Aotearoa, Avant-garde, and Open – and three unique categories: Crazy Curiosities of the Creature Carnival, Natural World, and Geometric Abstraction.

Designers from 35 countries put forward entries this year, with brilliantly unexpected takes on the six sections, Nathan says.

“The Geometric section, while rooted in mathematical precision, brings forth a sense of whimsy and wonder, showcasing designs that evoke childlike joy and curiosity. With Crazy Curiosities of the Creature Carnival, the designers have pushed the boat out beyond what anyone might imagine is possible.”

Dame Suzie Moncrieff says the standard of work presented by this year’s finalists is remarkable.  

“Even after almost four decades of the WOW Competition, I’m constantly surprised by, and honoured to witness, designers’ ingenuity and commitment to constant elevation of their chosen materials. Combined with the exceptional creative vision of Executive Creative Director Brian Burke and Show Director Malia Johnston, 2024 WOW Show: DREAM AWAKE is set to be another spectacular celebration showcasing stunning works of wearable art from all over the world.”  

The 2023 WOW Show attracted designers from around the world, showcasing their artistry and innovation to an audience of almost 60,000, with exceptional audience satisfaction results.  

WOW 2024 takes up residence in TSB Arena in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington, from 26 September to 13 October. Tickets are on sale now.

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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.