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The Power & Beauty of Collaboration Behind the Garment Fera Dei


Some designers create their entry on their own whilst others will choose to team up and work together to create a work of wearable art. Design teams can comprise up to three people and partnerships can be formed in many ways.

In the 2022 World of WearableArt Awards Competition there are 18 design teams behind finalist garments that will come to life on stage during the Show. From husband-and-wife teams to colleagues, family and friends, these design teams demonstrate the power of collaboration.

The designers of award-winning garment Fera Dei, Fifi Colston and Bruce Mahalski have known each other for some time as artists, having previously shared a studio space. But it was a visit to the Dunedin Museum of Natural Mystery, the museum founded by Bruce himself, that sparked the inspiration to bring their contrasting skill sets together.

Fera Dei, Fifi Colston & Bruce Mahalski, New Zealand

The concept and planning behind their garment, Fera Dei (Aotearoa Section), started in 2019 and, during the lockdown period in 2020, Bruce began creating the exquisite bone sculpture on a Worbla (moulding thermoplastic) base.

Fifi took on the fabric and textile portion of the garment, digitally printing fabric featuring images of Bruce’s collection and shots of Central Otago landscapes. She hand-dyed and felted silk organza and, after collecting the sculptured section from Bruce, brought their two pieces of art together to complete the final garment.

Their garment Fera Dei was awarded the Supreme WOW Award Runner-up and Aotearoa Section Winner for 2022.

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