About the World of WearableArt

Welcome from Suzie Moncrief

Suzie Moncrieff
Suzie Moncrieff is the creator of the WOW® concept, a Director of the company, and manages all creative aspects of WOW®.

Quote marksSo much of who we are and where we're from is presented in what we wear and how we wear it. Since the beginnings of human history our bodies and what we put on them has formed a central pillar of cultural tradition. We've painted and tattooed them, and dressed them with ceremony and ritual, usually as an expression of tribal cohesion and identity.

Today, our preoccupation with covering the body is dominated by the global fashion industry, which tends to encourage conformity and a preoccupation with branding. For most of us the clothes we wear must fit with what is fashionable, while being safe, flattering, comfortable and usually not too outrageous.

For me, the joy and energy of WearableArt is that it enables designers to step out from these constraints, and to see the body as a blank canvas on which they can develop any idea that appeals to them. The more provocative, unorthodox and original, the better. The garments do not have to be commercially viable. They do not even have to take themselves seriously. The only thing they must be is wearable. Creators have the freedom to use painting, sculpture, textiles, costuming, engineering and electronics – in fact any medium to realise their vision – from 20,664 plastic collar stays to 600,000 glass beads, from human hair to wood, corrugated iron to kitchen utensils or taxidermied birds to sumptuous silks.

WOW® is contemporary art that is both accessible and inclusive. The artists and designers come from all walks of life and many different backgrounds. Creating a WearableArt™ garment doesn't have to be an expensive process, and it encourages lateral and original thinking. It is also about being inventive with recycled materials or creating materials from scratch.

Even after 25 years of judging thousands of garments, I never tire of seeing the extent of creativity that WOW generates, and It propels and inspires me to create yet another show. I urge the audiences to never take for granted the patience, the passion and the hours of dedication each individual work of art takes. It is truly inspiring and they, the artists, are truly inspirational."

Sir Richard Taylor
Sir Richard Taylor Weta Workshop, June 2011

"The World of WearableArt plays a pivotal role in the creative education and inspiration of New Zealanders. It is a benchmark event that has set the highest of standards while being accessible to artists all over the world.

Those who participate in this event get to share their work alongside a phenomenal group of talented artists while displaying their own personal work on the world stage. It is all packaged into a night of world-class entertainment and performance.

Where some choose to draw on the most organic of techniques for their garments, most benefit from a technical exploration of the materials to complement the category brief and each year the audience gasps in amazement at the reinterpretation of common and available materials into the most abstract, comedic, beautiful and sublime art forms.

Arguably the greatest benefit from this incredible institution is the empowerment that young creatives gain from participating or simply observing the content within the show – here they can find a level of endorsement and encouragement that inspires a creative outflow of ideas to delight and amaze.

WOW also offers a stage from which creative employers can watch the world's best and provides an avenue for them to approach the unique and innovative talent on display. We ourselves have met and hired a number of our senior and accomplished staff through our association with WOW and look forward each year to meeting this incredible community of artists."

Image credits, left to right: 'Just Hare-say', Keryn Whitney, Hastings; 'Tiki Touring', Judith Keith, Auckland; 'Put a Cork In It', Sean Purucker, United States; 'Big Mouth Speaks', Susan Holmes, Auckland; 'Perfect Pins', Hannah Gibbs and Stephen Loy, Nelson; 'Knight Rider', Annah Stretton, Morrinsville; 'Tu Tu Much', Ann Skelly, Wellington; 'The Structure of Beauty: Aotearoa', Mitsuko Makino, Japan

Image credits, left to right: 'Just Hare-say', Keryn Whitney, Hastings; 'Tiki Touring', Judith Keith, Auckland; 'Put a Cork In It', Sean Purucker, United States; 'Big Mouth Speaks', Susan Holmes, Auckland; 'Perfect Pins', Hannah Gibbs and Stephen Loy, Nelson; 'Knight Rider', Annah Stretton, Morrinsville; 'Tu Tu Much', Ann Skelly, Wellington; 'The Structure of Beauty: Aotearoa', Mitsuko Makino, Japan

Images © World of WearableArt Ltd