Get Up Close with World of WearableArt at Wellington’s Te Papa

Taking art off the wall and putting it onto the moving body

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The very best of global art and design will be on show when World of WearableArt – Up Close (Ao KākahuToi – Kia Tata) arrives at The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa later this year.

After having to cancel its 2020 competition and show, we are incredibly excited to announce the latest WOW exhibition.

The exhibition will feature more than 35 award-winning works from World of WearableArt, the world’s most significant wearable art competition – including six Supreme WOW Award-winning garments.

The featured works come from designers in Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Netherlands, Poland, United States, as well as 18 garments from New Zealand designers.

The garments on display include avant-garde pieces woven from 500 abandoned music festival tents, and a wearable Axminster carpet inspired by Frida Kahlo.

World of Wearableart Waka Huia, Kayla Christensen, New Zealand
Human Nature_macro(3)
Gothic Habit_macro(2)
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All images courtesy of World of WearableArt Ltd
Main article image: Underling, Gillian Saunders, New Zealand
Image 1: Waka Huia, Kayla Christensen, New Zealand
Image 2: Human Nature, Saar Snoek, Netherlands
Image 3: Gothic Habit, Lynn Christiansen, United States
Image 4: Gemini: The Twins, Dawn Mostow & Ben Gould, United States
Image 5: Axminstress, Kate MacKenzie, New Zealand 

“WOW garments really are a labour of love. In this exhibition you can see every intricate detail and read how the maker conceived and crafted their garment,” says Courtney Johnston, Te Papa Chief Executive | Tumu Whakarae.

“While there isn’t a WOW Awards Show this year, this brand new bespoke exhibition lets people get up close and experience the WOW phenomenon in a whole new way,” says David Tingey, World of WearableArt Chief Executive.

“We look forward to sharing some of the most incredible garments that have adorned our stage, in a completely different environment.”

Founded by Dame Suzie Moncrieff, the first World of WearableArt competition took place in 1987. In the three-plus decades since, the competition has grown into an internationally renowned event, attracting entries from over 40 countries every year.

Each year, designers are encouraged to create work inspired by one of the award’s six themes. There are three recurring categories – Aotearoa, Avant-garde, and Open – alongside three unique categories.

Alongside the Up Close exhibition, Te Papa will host a series of special events, from a glittering opening gala, to WOW evening events, floor talks, dinners and more.

World of WearableArt – Up Close (Ao KākahuToi – Kia Tata) will be on show at Wellington’s Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Tickets are on sale now via