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Canadian designer speaks about their exhilarating journey to debut their awe-inspiring creation

World of WearableArt

Entering the immersive World of WearableArt (WOW) Show award ceremony for the first time, Canadian Fashion Designer Grandy C embarked on an exhilarating journey, debuting their awe-inspiring creation, Sol Invictus.

The morning after the 2023 WOW Show awards ceremony Grandy sat down with us to share their unique experience.

What was it like seeing your beautiful Sol Invictus on the stage?

Nerve-wracking. The whole thing is made of foam and held together with a bunch of adhesives, and all this material–they shift slightly over time, it’s just the nature of things. Adhesive changes with humidity and temperature, and it was very nerve-wracking the whole time because, especially in the shipping process, you learn about how much temperature changes in shipping containers as it goes across the ocean. You learn about container rain. I’m sure you guys are aware, everything is shipped at top stow, so it’s like prime umbrella material for when container rain comes down. I followed it across the ocean, going like, “Is this the day it gets rained on? Is this the day that the box falls apart?” You have all sorts of thoughts until WOW sent me an email and said, “Your piece arrived, it's in one piece!” From there, I knew you guys would take great care of it.

What is something that you can't do without when you’re designing?

I would say a touch of humour. There are lots of wonderful things about the world. There are also a lot of not-wonderful things sometimes, and I think I grew up being a little bit on the anxious side, so I found that humour has helped a lot in my art. Humour has helped me a lot in being productive with things that, you know, maybe you’re not so happy with in the world or in your life. It helps give it a different perspective rather than kind of like, stewing about it. So, a little bit of humour, little bit of art.

This piece is interesting because I think a lot of people interpret it as–I maybe shouldn’t say this on camera–but a lot of people interpret it as “Oh, it looks so regal and so brilliant onstage, and it has this commanding presence.” I showed a photo of it early on to a close friend of mine, he said “That’s totally camp!”, I’m like “Yeah, you’re totally right.”

For me it’s really about that humour a little bit. When I create things, I like for it to be open to interpretation on many different levels. You could see it as a beautiful, regal piece, or you could be like “Yeah, I know you. That’s camp.”

Sol Invictus, Grandy C, Canada
What would you say to someone out there googling wearable art that’s stumbled upon the WOW Competition?

Just do it. Just do it. Cause that’s what I did. I’m kind of glad I didn’t know too much about it when I entered because I don’t know that I would've. The more I learned about it, the more I realised just what a global event, what a big event, and what a great production it was; when I first found it, all of the marketing material, the website, the photos, the footage on YouTube, they all looked really good, so I knew it had a high-level production associated with it, but the more I learned about it, the more impressive it seemed and I connect with designers that were like, “I’ve been following WOW for 10 years and this is my first time entering.” In a way, I’m glad I wasn’t kind of held back by knowing too much about it, being totally intimidated out of submitting, because there are nerves.  

You’re competing with people who are extremely talented, who are professionals at this. I think that was the biggest thing, meeting all these people who have got a Masters and PhD in Costume Design and teach at Stanford University, or whatever. When you learn more about that, you’re like “Oh, I don’t know, I have a marketing degree. I’ve just been doing this; I went to the school of YouTube.”  

Is YouTube your bastion of universal knowledge and discovery?

It really is. Everything that I make money doing, I probably learned how to do on YouTube.  

I think it is intimidating being around people who are so talented. Just seeing their work on stage–you're always hoping to win, but there’s always more people who don’t win than do. Statistics [don’t] break in your favour, let's put it that way. So, you’re always wondering “How am I going to feel if I don’t win anything?” I didn’t feel any negativity about it at all because it’s so clear that there’s just an immense amount of talent onstage, and people bringing to life things that I can imagine now, but not before!  

Follow Grandy on Instagram: @atelier_grandi

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