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2023 World of WearableArt Awards Competition

Job details

World of WearableArt
2 Mar 2023
Work type
Awards, grants & residencies, Call for entries
Work classification
Design, Performing Arts


Entries are open until 2 March 2023 for the World of WearableArt (WOW) Awards Competition, the world’s leading wearable art competition which brings the work of designers to life in the most extraordinary of ways each year in the WOW Awards Show, a large-scale theatrical spectacle held in Wellington, New Zealand attracting an audience of more than 60,000 people.

“It was exhilarating. The way they present the show, the way they treat your garment, the choreography; it's beautiful.” – WOW Designer, Manas Barve, India


This Competition is a unique platform to share and showcase your creativity with the world.

For thirty-five years, the World of WearableArt has been a platform for designers from every corner of the globe, from all walks of life and backgrounds to fulfil their creative dreams, push boundaries and challenge themselves to create unique works of wearable art that will be brought to life in the WOW Awards Show.

“WOW is a phenomenon. It inspires designers to be more creative; to be bold and brilliant. And the designers, in turn, drive WOW to be more innovative, more extensive and, generally, just more of everything.” – WOW Competition Director, Heather Palmer

Wanton Widow, Kate MacKenzie, New Zealand


The Competition is internationally renowned, and each year attracts entries from more than 40 countries. Whether you’re entering to design free from commercial restraints, to add to your student portfolio or to push the limits of your imagination, the WOW Awards Competition offers a truly unique creative outlet.

“WOW to me is so exciting because I can unleash everything that I can imagine in my mind.” – WOW Designer, Grace DuVal, United States

Banshee of the Bike Lane, Grace DuVal, United States


Who Can Enter WOW?

The WOW Awards Competition is open to anyone over the age of 18, from anywhere around the world.

Designers, creatives, and makers from all walks of life - fashion, textile or industrial designers, jewellers, architects, engineers, sculptors, painters, homemakers, gardeners, doctors, librarians, and more – enter WOW. All you need is a strong creative concept, well executed.

“There is no expectations of what you should create when entering WOW only the aim of personal growth and the abilities of your own imagination.” - WOW Designer, Rodney Leong, New Zealand

Collar-a (Cholera) Contagion, Rodney Leong, New Zealand

Fundamental to the WOW Awards Competition is the principle that anyone can enter, and anyone can win. Competition finalists are determined through a closed-judging process where the judges are presented with the garment name, and the inspiration behind the work; however, the designer’s details and experience are not disclosed, allowing the work to be considered solely on its own merit.

Anything that is wearable art can find a place on the stage, as long as it is original, innovative, and beautifully made.

“For me, the joy and energy of WearableArt is that it enables designers to see the body as a blank canvas on which they can develop any idea that appeals to them. 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.” – WOW Founder, Dame Suzie Moncrieff

Dark Alien Doctor, Cecilio Castrillo, Spain

For 2023 there are six section themes for designers to be inspired from when entering the Competition. This includes three recurring sections; Aotearoa, Avant-garde and Open, and three new sections, Gold, Mars & Beyond and Bizarre Bra, that are unique to 2023. Read here for more section theme details.


Why Enter WOW?

As well as a total prize pool of over $185,000 (NZD), the Competition offers the chance to access exclusive residencies and internships with global creative companies including Wētā Workshop (Wellington, New Zealand) and The Residency Experience (Los Angeles, United States), while giving designers scope to experiment with new techniques and technologies and build on professional portfolios of creative work. 

WOW challenges today’s global artists to conceive of original personalities that can communicate their content on stage. The audience must decipher the meaning through all the same methods as one would judge a canvas. Even more than commercial work, as fine artists, nothing is better than being recognised for our art. Seeing our work appear on stage in such a dramatic format is fantastic.” – WOW Designers, Dawn Mostow & Ben Gould, United States

Dawn Mostow and Ben Gould receive the Overall Winner International Design Award from The Residncy Experience's B. Akerlund in 2019

When you enter the Competition, you become part of an international design community like no other and have the opportunity to have your work exhibited alongside other incredible designers and artists from around the world!

“WOW is unlike any other experience I've had. It's so open, and friendly and welcoming. Everyone is here to celebrate each other's designs and learn from each other. There are designers who have entered in for 20 years, alongside first timers, and yet everyone feels integrated and equally supported. It's wonderful.” – WOW Designer, Adam McAlavey, United Kingdom

Cube, Adam McAlavey, UK


The 2023 World of WearableArt Awards Competition is calling for creatives now – for more information go to the WOW website: 2023 World of WearableArt Awards Competition

Or begin your WOW journey now and create your  WOW Designer Profile

How to apply

Create your  WOW Designer Profile

Written by

Joy - Operations, The Big Idea

17 Jan 2023