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Hawke’s Bay designer Kate MacKenzie wins top prize at World of Wearable Art Awards

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Thousands of people will get to see the award-winning art works during the WOW Awards show. Photo / Getty Images

Havelock North artist and designer Kate MacKenzie has won top honours at the prestigious World of Wearable Art Awards in Wellington.

She was recognised as the 2022 Supreme WOW Award winner on Friday night, the second time she has won top gong at the international competition.

MacKenzie’s garment, Wanton Widow, floored the judges who remarked it was “refined, sculptural and tells a story” and “perfectly captures what we mean when we say wearable art”.

She pocketed $30,000 for winning the Supreme WOW Award as well as another $6000 for winning the Open Section category.

Havelock North artist Kate MacKenzie. Photo / NZME
Havelock North artist Kate MacKenzie. Photo / NZME

The competition, commonly referred to as the WOW Awards, boasts a huge following each year domestically and overseas, with over 100 designers across the globe making up the finalists this year.

A stage show which is New Zealand’s largest theatrical production is being held over the next two weeks at Wellington’s TSB Arena showcasing all the top designs and garments from the competition.

Organisers are expecting about 60,000 people to flood into the arena to watch the show which includes a variety of performances including dancers, aerialists and kapa haka performers.

The judges of the competition noted MacKenzie’s garment was a worthy winner of the supreme award.

The judges said MacKenzie's work perfectly captured what was meant by wearable art. Photo / Getty Images
The judges said MacKenzie’s work perfectly captured what was meant by wearable art. Photo / Getty Images

“We are in awe of the designer’s resourcefulness in use of the vintage china cabinet and Singer sewing machine drawers,” the judge’s comments read.

“It perfectly captures what we mean when we say wearable art. It is refined, sculptural and tells a story.”

WOW competition director Heather Palmer said it would be a fantastic couple of weeks ahead with the show.

“We have been waiting for an incredibly long time to share the work of our 2022 finalist designers with the world and finally we can give each of the garments their moment to shine on the WOW stage.

Kate MacKenzie's winning wearable art work Wanton Widow. Photo / Getty Images
Kate MacKenzie’s winning wearable art work Wanton Widow. Photo / Getty Images

“To see the passion, innovation and dedication of this year’s finalists is incredibly affirming and it is heartening to see the wearable art movement around the globe remains alive and well.”

More than $185,000 in prize money was on offer during the 2022 awards.

MacKenzie also won the Supreme WOW Award in 2014 with another wearable art work, Poly Nation.



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