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2024 Section Themes

Each year there are six section themes or ‘worlds’ for designers to be inspired by when entering the WOW Competition. This includes three recurring sections; Aotearoa, Avant-garde and Open, plus three unique themes which are announced each year.

X-Ray, Lyndal Linton, Brett Linton & Harvey Linton, New Zealand


New Zealand is a proud nation of tangata whenua Māori and a wide range of multicultural peoples living together on a mighty and sacred land.  

A place that is vibrant, breathtakingly beautiful, irreverent, and innovative. Be inspired by Aotearoa’s culture, history, landscapes, native wildlife, flora and fauna. Explore Aotearoa’s mana (spiritual power), mahi (hard work), manaakitanga (respect and welcome) and whakakata (humour).

Reflect your own connection with Aotearoa through a distinctive and meaningful work of wearable art.

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Take the concept of fashion and push the limitations. Explore a world that is experimental, radical, and unorthodox. Create a work of art that is forward thinking, unconventional and explores new forms of structure and design.

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A world with no thematic boundaries. Giving you freedom to explore and create your own design. The only limit is your own imagination.

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Crazy Curiosities of the Creature Carnival

Strange, surreal characters meet in a world without time.  A dimension where dreams and nightmares come to life. From the bizarre to the beautiful, and mysterious to the grotesque.

Create a garment that crosses the boundaries of wearable art.

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Natural World

Throughout time artists have been inspired by nature as the muse or motivation to create. Enter this vast, spectacular world and its infinite variety of wonder and inspiration.  From the tiny world of insects to flora and fauna landscapes and geological formations.  

Harness the elements of wind, air, water, earth or fire to create a work of wearable art that encompasses the wonders of nature.

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 Geometric Abstraction

This world is inhabited by geometric forms created from the relationship between lines, angles, and surfaces such as rectangles, circles, squares, or triangles.

It could also be populated by optical art that gives the illusions of movement by the precise use of pattern and colour in contrast causing flashing and vibrating patterns, swelling, and warping seeing hidden images.  

Create a work of wearable art that uses either geometric abstraction or optical art or combine the two.

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What judges look for

At the epicentre of WOW’s universe is an international wearable art competition that challenges artists and designers from all around the world to take art off the wall and onto the human form. The most innovative and outstanding entries are chosen to appear on stage as part of the annual World of WearableArt Show.