World of WearableArt and Weta Workshop collaborate for WOW factor

When the World of WearableArt meets Weta Workshop in Wellington for three weeks each year, two magical worlds collide.

When the World of WearableArt meets Weta Workshop in Wellington for three weeks each year, two magical worlds collide in an eye-popping explosion of creativity and colour that leaves audiences breathless and begging for more.

Now in its 29th year and one of New Zealand’s greatest cultural success stories, the World of WearableArt (WOW) is a garment design competition like no other in the world that attracts hundreds of entries from more than 40 countries.

Created by Dame Suzie Moncrieff and first staged in the small, South Island city of Nelson in 1987, it takes art off the gallery wall and brings it to life, wrapped around the human form.

Plastic, leather, metal, textiles, timber and even more exotic materials are mashed-up by extraordinary minds and multi-skilled craftspeople to emerge as wearable artworks ranging from the offbeat and outrageous, to the stunning and utterly surreal.

The World of WearableArt has grown into an internationally acclaimed art and fashion extravaganza, playing to nearly 60,000 people annually and employing more than 350 cast and crew during its three-week season in New Zealand’s capital city.

Around 100 works are modelled on stage, each entry individually choreographed to present its story and inspiration. The show is the hottest ticket in town, and transports audiences into a realm with all the style, drama and fantasy of first-class theatre.

Getting in on the act is Weta Workshop, the Wellington-based special effects company that has boosted WOW’s wow-factor over the last decade. Drawing on Academy Award-winning skills showcased in blockbuster films such as The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit motion picture trilogies, the Workshop has been pulled inexorably closer into WOW’s orbit with sponsorship and internships.

"Weta are stunned by what they can do with us and we are blown away with what they bring to WOW. Wellington is the perfect city to operate from with synergies in size – everything is close and it’s not difficult to connect and foster the creative talents that this city is so proud of,” says WOW Chief Executive Gisella Carr.

Weta Workshop CEO and Co-founder Richard Taylor is only too happy to join in on this spectacular journey. “To have enjoyed more than a decade of creative collaboration with the show is an incredible honour. Several of our crew, past and present have been WOW® designers.”

Weta Workshop also sponsors WOW’s Costume & Film section. In 2017 this category saw entrants design to a science fiction theme. The winners will undertake a four-week internship at Weta Workshop in Wellington, a highly coveted opportunity to be involved with big-screen special effects at a world-leading company. There’s also the possibility of full-time work, with several previous entrants having joined the Weta crew.

Thankfully, all these lights, cameras and action aren’t just confined to the show’s three-week season, with Weta and WOW attractions open to visitors all year round.

At Weta Workshop, in the Wellington suburb of Miramar, film-fans can take fascinating behind-the-scenes studio tours to see props from famous productions such as The Lord of the Rings, King Kong and Thunderbirds Are Go, and discover the secrets of how they are conceptualised and created. 

A short hop away at the top of the South Island, Nelson is home to the World of WearableArt and Classic Cars Museum. The show-stopping garment gallery displays over 70 fantastical WOW pieces, most selected from the current season alongside an array of outstanding artworks from earlier shows.

Background Info

  • The World of WearableArt™Awards Show is New Zealand’s single largest arts show, now in its 29th year. Held in New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington, it a truly world-class event, attracting competitors and spectators from all over the world. 
  • Dame Suzie Moncrieff created the WOW® concept in 1987 to challenge designers to take “art off the wall and onto the human form”. Designers come from all occupations and many different backgrounds. WOW® gives them the opportunity to be innovative and original, while not being bound by the constraints of commercialism. The only limit is imagination.
  • The high-energy 2017 WOW® show tells a powerful visual story, featuring 104 entries by 122 designers with a 50/50 split between New Zealand and the rest of world including Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom and United States. 
  • Prizes include internships with Weta Workshop in Wellington and Cirque de Soleil in Canada.
  • This year’s show season is another sell-out, as nearly 60,000 people from all over the world witness the breathtaking, two-hour spectacular of art, theatre, dance, and music.