Fourteen designers from Australia region are among the 115 finalists from 22 countries and regions announced for this year’s World of WearableArt (WOW) Awards Show.

The finalists from Australia are:

  • Kirsten Fletcher, QLD
  • Erica Gray, QLD (two finalist entries)
  • Felicity Rose Hardy, VIC
  • Ildy Izso, NSW
  • Lesley Marsh, WA
  • Tara Morelos, Ahmad Mollahassani, Nelia Justo, NSW (three finalist designers in a design team)
  • R. Pascoe, NSW
  • Jill Perry, QLD
  • Nicola Rule, NSW
  • Hanna Smith, NSW
  • Michelle Wade, NSW (in a design team with Adam Wade from New Zealand)
  • Svenja, QLD

The world’s most significant wearable art competition is returning for its 31st season this year in Wellington from 26 September to 13 October.  About 60,000 people are expected to attend the 2019 WOW Awards Season.

WOW Competition Director, Heather Palmer says this year’s finalists’ work is outstanding, with the designers pushing boundaries of invention and scale, using diverse materials and progressive technology.

“It never ceases to amaze me each year the sheer brilliance of our designers’ work and this year is no exception. There has been such a high level of experimentation and innovation by the designers this year, using materials in unexpected ways to create bizarre, edgy works of art.

“Finalist designers were selected over three days of judging at the WOW Museum in Nelson.  I now look forward to the next two rounds of judging in September when we showcase the entries individually choreographed and placed within their magical theatrical worlds on stage at the TSB Arena in Wellington, where they will take on a new life in movement”.

This year the 115 finalist designers were presented with six design challenges, which subsequently form the six worlds of the stage show. Three of these worlds are recurring – Aotearoa, Avant-garde and Open, and three are new for 2019 – Mythology, Transform and White.

WOW Chief Executive Gisella Carr says alongside the many talented New Zealand designers, the 2019 show has seen entrants hailing from all corners of the globe including Kazakhstan, Czechia and Belarus alongside regular contributing countries such as Australia, China, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Every year WOW receive more and more entries from around the globe, with 108 finalist garments from 22 countries and regions set to be on stage for this year’s WOW Awards Show Season.

“We are proud to have strategic relationships with tertiary institutions and designers around the world, and it is an honour to showcase their work on our stage.

“The creative team has been busy designing the show for the past eighteen months, creating six different worlds, and now they have the exciting job of working the finalist garments into the show for another show-stopping performance. This is when the magic happens and it’s a joy to watch this unique collision of creativity come together.”

The first round of judging took place in Nelson over the weekend of 5-7 July. This year’s judges include WOW Founder and resident judge, Dame Suzie Moncrieff, designer James Dobson of Jimmy D, and artist Gregor Kregar. The judging panel will also be joined by fashion activist and celebrity stylist, B. Akerlund, Sir Richard Taylor, CEO and Creative Director of Weta Workshop and Cirque du Soleil’s Creative Intelligence Team Lead + Conceptrice, Melissa Thompson.

The finalist garments will go through two more stages of the judging process, where they will be seen on stage with choreography, lighting and music ahead of opening night on September 26.

NB: More information about the six sections that make up the show can be found here.

WOW Key Dates

5-7 July First Judging

24 July Finalist Garments Announced

1 September Second Judging

23 September Final Judging

26 September Opening Night

27 September Awards Night

13 October Closing Night

Tickets on sale now at