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The 2018 World of WearableArt Awards opened for entries on Saturday 23 September 2017, and the Award Winners were announced a year later on Friday 28 September 2018 after three rounds of judging in the competition.

This year was the 30th anniversary of the World of WearableArt Awards and the 2018 Supreme WOW Award Winner was WAR sTOrY by Natasha English and Tatyanna Meharry of Christchurch, New Zealand.

The sisters are the first ever two-time Supreme WOW Award Winners, having taken the top award in 2013 for The Exchange.

The Exchange, a complex meditation on the Treaty of Waitangi made with car boot fabric, pottery, and feathers, won the 2013 Supreme WOW Award. With their prize money they travelled to Europe, where they found inspiration for this year’s garment in the religious iconography of St Petersburg.

“That was staggering and it’s something we don’t see in New Zealand; that opulence to do with religion,” Meharry says. “You associate that type of stuff with Italy but that Russian experience was amazing.”

[Video link here]

This year’s Supreme WOW Award-winning garment is inspired by the 100th anniversary of WWI and commemorates the more than 128,000 New Zealand men and women who served, of which more than 18,000 never returned home. Meharry said the sisters had been working on the garment for five years and created their entry using recycled objects such as old army and household blankets, salvaged rimu from demolished houses, old collected plastic toy soldiers, broken crushed red bricks and traded pieces of pounamu.

"We wanted to include as many tangible memories as well, using recycled materials that have been either collected over the years, traded or salvaged to help imbue this art piece with memories for past, current and future generations. The heavy weight of the memories and stories of the past pave the way for future generations of mokopuna to carry. The badges and symbols of honour are now worn by our generation, a deserving remembrance in this centenary year."

WOW’s 2018 judging panel consisted of WOW Founder and Resident Judge Dame Suzie Moncrieff; Margarita Robertson, Creative Director of iconic fashion label NOM*d; Sam Gao, Weta Workshop Art Director and Business Development Manager; Weta Workshop Co-founder and CEO Sir Richard Taylor; Cirque du Soleil’s Nathalie Bouchard and International Guest judge Mary Wing To.

As part of the competition journey, garments go through a three-stage judging process to end up onstage, beginning in July. All garments are assessed for detail as well as their performance on stage.

WAR sTOry, Natasha English & Tatyanna Meharry, New Zealand.

WOW Founder and Head Judge Dame Suzie Moncrieff says:

"WAR sTOrY is a garment that the judges described as an exceptional example of powerful storytelling realised through a work of art. An entry that is an exceptionally compelling realisation of a thought-provoking narrative that is flawless in its execution."

WAR sTOrY was also awarded the 2018 Aotearoa Section Award; second in the section was Ancient Dreamscape, Kayla Christensen, New Zealand; and third place was awarded to Tar’White, Ali Middleton, New Zealand.

The Runner-up to the Supreme WOW Award was first-time entrant Nika Danielska (Poland) with her entry Ernst Haeckel’s Bride.

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