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Wellington’s love affair with WOW continues to blossom

5 Dec 2018

The Wellington region embraced the 30th edition of the World Of WearableArt Awards show with more businesses than ever before being involved in activities around the event.

The Welly Loves WOW Window Dressing Competition this year had 92 participants, an increase of 24 per cent over 2017. Retailers were spread across the region with 13 in the Hutt Valley (including 10 on Jackson St), seven in the Wairarapa, and one in Churton Park.

The Welly Loves WOW Menus, where local eateries created WOW-inspired gourmet treats, had 43 participating outlets, a 34 per cent increase on last year.

There was also the WOW Wander, 12 installations throughout the city which featured garments from the World of WearableArt historical collection, and 16 extraordinary works of wearable art in displays created with Massey University College of Creative Arts students and exhibition design company, Workshop e.

Around 1000 photos were shared via social media in the #WellyLovesWOW competition which featured snaps of people taken with the temporary WOW waterfront sign. The competition was introduced last year when there were around 600 photo entries.

And a new competition this year, WOW Edible Art, attracted 16 participants who created a range of inspired artworks good enough to ingest: from cocktails and main courses to chocolate delights and even a starry night-themed cupcake.

WREDA’s Events and Experiences General Manager Warrick Dent says it’s no surprise the lure of WOW continues to grow even after 30 years.

“WOW is worth about $25 million a year to the regional economy but its impact is much more than that.

“It significantly adds to Wellington’s reputation as an engaged, vibrant and arts-focused city with its influence overflowing onto the streets of regional Wellington where it’s being increasingly embraced.

“Wellington remains a great place to host events and if you wanted to find an example of why that is, you need look no further than WOW.”

Mr Dent says it takes a mammoth effort from a dedicated team to help ensure WOW goes off without a hitch.

“This year we had 22 volunteers at key locations throughout the city during the 27 September-14 October show season. They were armed with assorted information including WOW Insider’s Guides to help show-goers make the most of their time in Wellington.

WOW chief executive Gisella Carr says WOW’s growing international awareness has a positive impact on the city.

“WOW’s growing international reputation helps shine a light on the creative capital. This year we had 61 international designers visit during WOW as well as delegations from six international tertiary institutions. While they came for WOW, they went home with memories of Wellington and all it has to offer and we have no doubt they’ll be singing its praises,” she says.

Jane Baxter, from Abstract Designs in Cuba Mall, took part in the Welly Love WOW Window Dressing Competition which she says helped visitors enjoy a complete WOW experience – the show, shopping, meeting friends and dining out.

“WOW has the buzz and energy of the busy Christmas season but with none of the stress. The window competition plays an important part by moving visitors throughout the city, map in hand, to expand the show experience.

“It’s such a brilliantly run event which has a positive impact on a wide-reaching range of Wellington businesses.”

Fashion Designer Deryn Schmidt, who has a boutique in both Lombard Lane and Jackson St in Petone, says the window dressing competition is a fantastic initiative as it helps give the region a WOW-buzz.

“It’s a fun and creative way for us to play a small part in creating a Wellington-wide feel to the whole WOW event and is greatly enjoyed by both our customers and the general public.”

Te Papa spokesperson Kate Camp says WOW had a positive impact on the national museum’s visitor numbers.

“Te Papa visitors absolutely love WOW, whether they’re taking selfies with the WOW Wander installation or getting up close to some past winners on display in our store.

“And we of course loved being able to welcome the influx of visitors to Wellington. They packed out the Gallipoli exhibition and our new Toi Art gallery.”