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Ara Graduate Joins The Finalists at the World Of Wearable Arts competition

Brittany in her fashion element
Recent Ara fashion graduate Brittany Glassey one of only 58 New Zealand WOW finalists


Brittany Glassey has just reached peak status for a fashion graduate, making it as a finalist in the renowned World of Wearable Arts (WOW) competition.

From 30 September - 17 October 2021, Wellington will host the annual fashion show and awards show which is known for drawing people from all over New Zealand, and the world. This year, due to travel restrictions the expected audience of 60,000 will be New Zealand-based only, but competitors will be arriving from all over the world, with 102 designers from 19 countries and regions, including 58 from New Zealand.

The concept of Wearable Arts seeks to push the boundaries of fashion and challenge the conventional.

As previous Supreme Award Winners show, metal and recycled paper can create the armor of a female warrior, an eighteenth-century ballgown can be made entirely out of wood and leather and cardboard suitcases can be transformed into a story-telling piece which represents New Zealand’s cultural identity - there’s no limit to the imaginative ability of the designers.

The finalist designers will compete for awards and prizes across three recurring sections - Aotearoa, Avant-garde and Open - as well as three new sections for 2021 - Architecture, Elizabethan Era and Monochromatic.

The World of Wearable Arts website says, "We see designers realising creative ideas that they’ve had for a long time, sometimes years, and others use the section themes to spark a new vision."

Brittany Glassey, graduate of Ara’s Bachelor of Design (Fashion Design and Technology) is keeping her concept under wraps so she can dazzle audiences once it’s on stage.

"I can’t describe much about the inspiration and process of my entry or it will give it away completely, but I wanted it to personify the joyous and elegant nature of something that Kiwis know and love."

Brittany says of her finalist status at the WOW Awards "It’s been quite the journey getting to this point to be honest! I started making this entry before starting at Ara - but I wanted to give my studies the most focus, so I ended up putting it aside until graduation. During lockdown I begun working on it again to be ready for the next show, since WOW was cancelled in 2020."

As an Ara fashion student Glassey developed her passion for Avant Garde fashion, culminating in her 2019 final year collection ‘Creativity gets an upgrade’ which meshed together recycled pieces of technology with Tokyo-inspired street fashion and a rainbow colour palette. This collection impressed at Pitch resulting in Glassey winning the 2019 Excellence Award and 2019 Innovative Practice Award.

As a young designer Glassey knows how hard it can be to get your first break in the fashion world but says it’s worth putting in the hard yards.

In a 2015 interview with Tearaway magazine Glassey passed on some great advice for budding designers, "It can sometimes be intimidating looking at the fashion industry, but make sure to stay true with your design ideas and stand your ground…The positive of following your dreams is just such an enjoyable and fulfilling experience, which doesn’t have to stay a dream. Make it a reality."

Glassey now has her eyes set on building her experience and portfolio and hopefully securing an award win at WOW, which would include taking away some of the over $185,000 prize pool.

Nathan Ingram, Head of Department for Ara Fashion says as a student Glassey "demonstrated loads of natural talent, passion and impressive levels of self-motivation and dedication."

As a graduate Glassey has gone on to impress her tutors by swiftly gaining employment with national brand ‘Wild South Clothing’ where she works on product development, including most recently contributing to the design of a summer clothing line.

Watch the video of Brittany’s collection for the Ara Pitch Fashion show in 2020:

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Written by

Ara Institute of Canterbury Ltd

29 Jul 2021