World of WearableArt®️ (WOW), returns for its 30th year with a spectacular fashion presentation

New Zealand’s most spectacular stage show, World of WearableArt®️ (WOW), will be returning for its 30th year this September in Wellington, New Zealand.


More than 60,000 attendees are expected to meet at the 2018 WOW Awards season from 27 September to 14 October, WOW Chief Executive Gisella Carr says.

2017 WOW - World of WearableArt
WOW – World of WearableArt. Wellington, NZ. 18 September 2017. Photo credit: Stephen AíCourt.

“Over the past three decades, WOW has showcased, in New Zealand, more than 4,700 garments from designers across New Zealand and around the globe, to a total show audience of more than 706,000. This year we’re inviting the audience to embark on a journey into the unimaginable, a place of reflection, dreams and wonder for the 30th anniversary show,” she says.

2017 WOW - World of WearableArt
WOW – World of WearableArt. Wellington, NZ. 18 September 2017. Photo credit: Stephen AíCourt.

This year’s creative team is headlined by script writer for the anniversary show, Dame Suzie Moncrieff, who founded WOW in 1987. Malia Johnston, who has previously been involved with WOW for 14 years, is returning as this year’s Show Director.

Dame Suzie says the 30th anniversary is a chance to reflect on the legacy of WOW, as well as look ahead to the next 30 years and beyond.


“It’s always given me great joy to be involved in creating the theatrical world of WOW where the extraordinary garments from the design competition are showcased. This year we are creating six worlds which will take our audience from a nostalgic glimpse from the past into an unforgettable, magical, dreamlike journey into another world,” she says.

Along with recurring the Aotearoa, Open and Avant-garde sections, this year’s show will include Reflective Surfaces, Under the Microscope and Bizarre Bra sections.

“One of my favourite sections, Bizarre Bra is back this year which is such a fun section to create and an audience favourite.”

Malia Johnston says the most exciting thing about working with WOW is that no two shows are the same.


“Every year the creative team starts with a blank canvas and creates captivating, enchanting, and visually stunning worlds and stories on the WOW stage. The garments are always unique and I love the challenge of weaving dance and drama around these to create a spectacular stage performance that will appeal to a diverse audience.

“Everyone from music and theatre lovers to artists, designers and those who simply love large-scale performance will take something unique from WOW. You’ve got to be there to see it as once the show run ends on 14 October, it’s gone for good,” Johnston says.


Every year WOW attracts the most talented, innovative and highly-skilled designers from across New Zealand and around the world, showcasing their garments in an on-stage theatrical extravaganza.


Artists and designers entering their garments will vie for a range of prizes in the annual design competition including prestigious industry awards such as the highly sort after Weta Workshop Emerging Designer Award chosen by Sir Richard Taylor, and the Cirque du Soleil Invited Artisan Award, where the winner receives a four-week residency at Cirque du Soleil in Montreal.

The 2018 WOW Awards show season will be on at the TSB Arena in Wellington from 27 September to 14 October.

Tickets on sale now at