The World of WearableArt (WOW) Competition celebrates the fusion of art, design, fashion, and performance. It is an opportunity to be seen on the world stage and be part of a global design community. The competition encourages designers from around the world to create extraordinary and innovative wearable artworks.
If you are considering becoming a first-time entrant, here's what you need to know:
Sections: Each year, WOW announces six sections for entries, including Avant-garde, Open, Aotearoa, and three sections unique to that year. The sections' themes can be broad or specific, challenging designers to think outside the box. It's important to thoroughly understand the theme that inspires you and to begin to create a concept that aligns with it. Each category has its own set of guidelines and criteria, so make sure you choose the one that best suits your design and vision.
Passion and Authenticity: Choose an idea you truly love and be true to yourself. Don't create solely based on others' expectations. You will be dedicating a lot of time and energy to your design, so it is important you love what you are working on.
Materials and Techniques: WOW encourages the use of unconventional materials and innovative techniques. From traditional fabrics to recycled objects, anything can be transformed into a stunning wearable artwork. Experimentation, creativity, and craftsmanship are highly valued.
Construction and Durability: Your design should not only be visually captivating but also structurally sound and durable. Consider the practicality of movement, as your design may be worn over 20 times if showcased on stage during the WOW show. Hot glue is not your friend in the long run!
Storytelling and Performance: WOW values storytelling and the ability of a design to captivate an audience. Think about the narrative behind your artwork and how performance elements, such as choreography, music, and lighting, can be used to enhance your work of art. How do you envisage it moving and appearing on stage? What story are you telling?
Entry Guidelines: Review the Competition Rules and Terms & Conditions for detailed guidelines on entry requirements, deadlines, and technical specifications. Pay close attention to size restrictions, documentation, and any additional rules specific to your chosen category.
Early Start: Begin working on your garment well in advance to allow organic development and avoid time pressure.
Inspiration and Research: Take time to explore previous WOW award winners and designs to understand the level of creativity and innovation expected. Set a benchmark in your mind about the standard of the garment you want to create. Inspiration can be drawn from a wide range of sources; including art, nature, culture, history, and technology. Spend lots of time exploring the Wearable Art Archive.
Collaboration and Mentorship: Consider collaborating with experts in various fields, such as fashion design, engineering, or costume construction, to enhance the quality and execution of your design. Seek guidance from experienced designers or mentors who can provide valuable insights.
Wearability Testing: Try the garment on or have someone else test it for weight distribution, comfort, balance, visibility, and breathability. Choose appropriate footwear that enhances your design. High heels can elevate impact but prioritise safety and comfort for the model.
Edit and Evaluate: Take photographs of your garment to help you step back and assess adjustments needed. You can often see a lot more from a photograph than with the naked eye. Pay close attention to finishing touches, embellishments, and the overall presentation of your wearable artwork. Your garment needs to look polished inside and out. And as good from the back as it does from the front.
Artistic Approach: Remember that you're creating a work of art, not a costume or fancy dress. Strike a balance between "less is more" and "more is more" approaches. Clean lines, volume, and density are important.
Professional Presentation: Invest in a professional photographer and model for final photographs. Present your garment as strongly as possible to increase its chances of success in Preselection and these photos will also be images that you can keep for life as part of your creative portfolio.
Persistence and Perseverance: Entering WOW can be a challenging and highly competitive process. Be prepared for multiple iterations, setbacks, and revisions. Don't be discouraged by rejection—learn from the experience and continue refining your skills.
Remember, WOW is not just a competition but also a platform for showcasing your talent and pushing the boundaries of wearable art. Enjoy the creative journey, embrace experimentation, and let your imagination soar as you bring your extraordinary vision to life!