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Costumes that explore body distortion, disguise and narration by WOW designer Juliet Dodson


We had the pleasure of sitting down with Costume Designer, Juliet Dodson from London, UK the morning after she was awarded the International Design Award: United Kingdom & Europe.

With a passion for costumes that explore body distortion, disguise and narration, Juliet is an exciting designer to watch!

Metamorphosis,  Juliet Dodson, United Kingdom
What was it like seeing your garment come onstage for the first time?

Metamorphosis left my studio in London in March after months of fine tuning. It was great to see it again, it felt slightly strange seeing the result of something I’ve imagined for months. My model, Emily Gannon, wore it so beautifully.

What motivated you to enter a competition on the other side of the world?

To be honest, I originally made this costume for my final degree. I studied BA in Costume for Performance at London College of Fashion. They encourage us to be quite sculptural and wild with our designs. Everything I was making in that course lends itself so well to World of WearableArt. I graduated in the middle of COVID, so I didn’t have a graduation show. Everything kind of lost its momentum and I didn’t show Metamorphosis anywhere, so I thought “You know what? This is the best opportunity to actually be able to show it somewhere, and still have that moment of feeling like you’ve graduated with something”. It feels like this whole experience has realised that element of my life, which is really special.

What did you think of the show itself, seeing it for the first time?

WOW is the best showcase of wearable art, and it’s so rare to see a competition which is tailored to pushing the boundaries of costume and sculpture. To see my work from that scale and distance has also developed my approach to design. Everyone I’ve spoken to here as well, [they are] the most talented people you’ve ever met, and everyone has their [specialty] of something that they’re incredibly good at or get obsessive with. I think it’s so beautiful to see that onstage and see how these people have perfected their craft. It is such a great community. You can see that onstage as well. The way that the models interact with the garments combined with the way that the designers interact with each other!

Metamorphosis, Juliet Dodson, United Kingdom
When you’re creating do you have something that you do or a way that helps you create your design? A secret weapon or just something that you use?

My Dad is a builder, so I’m looking at his work and thinking about tools as an extension of our bodies, and how the tools we use, and we’re taught to use, can affect the way we look at the world. I have been teaching myself to bend and shape metal sheet material recently to realise this.

There’s so many different elements that I pull together, I always like surrealism, but my initial starting point often comes from observing transformations in the everyday and replicating the action as a theatrical performance. For this project, my starting point was metamorphosis and the process of the change within nature. I also always incorporate non- wearable materials to create my Costumes, such as the pipes which I salvaged from my Dad’s building site which cover the front of Metamorphosis’.

As a first-time WOW designer, what would you say to someone else thinking of entering WOW for the first time?

Think of the craziest idea your brain can think of, and even if you draw it on paper, and you’re like, “How can I do anything with this?” You’ll figure out a way. Just draw the most wild thing, and then go for it. You never know what will happen, and it’s such a wonderful way to see your work, and it’s completely worth it.

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