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THREE DECADES OF WOW
It’s been 30 years since the first World Of Wearableart show took place in a tent near Nelson in 1987. Since then, WOW has gone from strength to strength, moving to Wellington in 2005 to become New Zealand’s largest annual theatrical production, attracting a total audience of nearly 60,000 across 16 shows at home each year.
Each WOW event receives up to 300 entries from 40 countries, with garments often made by sculptors, architects, engineers and jewellers rather than fashion designers. There’s now a permanent WOW design museum in Nelson.
WOW has taken its show far and wide in recent years, too. After a few mini-shows in cities such as Singapore, Hong Kong and San Francisco, in 2015 WOW went on to tour Australia. It was also exhibited at three museums in the US – Bishop Museum Hawaii, MOPOP in Seattle, and finally Peabody Essex Museum in Salem. The touring show has been seen by more than 600,000 people so far.
The exhibition is currently “resting” in the US as it waits for its final itinerary for next year, which will include more venues in the US, Europe and then Asia.