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A parade of creative thinking on catwalk

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A parade of creative thinking on catwalk

The Australian Wearable Art Festival is set to return in eye-catching splendour, boasting designer talent from across the globe.

The Sunshine Coast is set to host an exciting and unique intersection of art, fashion and costumery with the return of a premier Australian festival.

This year, 39 national and international wearable art pieces will come alive on the Australian Wearable Art Festival’s 27-metre-long catwalk.

A fresh wave of wearable art talent from across the globe is set to unveil the latest genre-bending creations to audiences on August 9 and 10.

The event will transform the Sunshine Coast’s Venue 114 into a creative mecca for art enthusiasts, fashion mavericks and creative minds alike. Categories include trashion, sustainable nature, floriana and avant-garde.

Australian Wearable Art Festival (AWAF) curator Wendy Roe says the Sunshine Coast grown event, which held its first show in Eumundi in 2019, has gone from strength to strength in recent years.

She says it highlights a nationwide enthusiasm for arts and cultural festivals within the events calendar.

“Last year’s attendees raved about the excitement and spectacle of the catwalk, where sculptural artworks are like something you would see at the Met Gala or at a runway in Paris Fashion Week,” Ms Roe says.

“There has been such momentum created around this event that our 39 finalists hail from across the continents – Europe, Southeast-Asia and the United States – as well as a continued strong representation from across Australia.”

Ms Roe says that from the moment guests arrive at the gala event, they are immersed in a world of wearable art where any found object – from ring-pull tabs, bicycle tyres, flowers, teabags and feathers – are transformed into haute couture.

“With a 27-metre runway, there’s the jaw-dropping performative aspect of the event but there are also more tactile opportunities for attendees to experience the detail of the work, understand the hours of work involved in the creation and talk with the artists about their process,” she says.

“It’s a unique combination and one that has audiences walking away feeling electrified and inspired.”

Ms Roe believes the festival’s success is rooted in a unique and authentically delivered showcase that connects audiences and artists.

“As a meeting point of art, fashion, costuming and technology, the festival fills a particular niche in the national art landscape,” Ms Roe says.

“It’s designed as an opportunity to connect wearable artists and designers to industry. There are few events where relatively unknown artists can gain national exposure on the scale we see at Australian Wearable Art Festival.

“It’s a chance, especially for emerging artists, to have their works shown and our audiences are able to revel in an unbridled level of creativity that occurs when experimental creative minds blend genres and mediums.”

Visit australianwearableart.com.au for tickets.

CROCHET’S UNDERSTATED ELEGANCE

Brisbane-based artist and last year’s AWAF Supreme Winner Isabelle Cameron has again been selected as a finalist in this year’s festival with her piece: Stardust.

Her crochet piece Dear Babushka, inspired by her Ukrainian heritage, took home three prizes in 2023.

“If Dear Babushka was a love letter to my heritage and to the women who came before me, Stardust is me – raw, awkward, honest and silly,” Ms Cameron says.

Stardust tells a story of a crochet sea monster plucked from the seaweed – for the first time the world sees them for exactly who they are and that is terrifying.”

Incorporating movement and volume with exaggerated limbs, a high contrast colourway and a ruffled, crocheted mohawk, this year’s piece will be a continuation of Ms Cameron’s practice that challenges public perceptions of crochet.

“Crochet has always been underestimated in fashion and it’s time to change that,” Ms Cameron says.

Event details

WHAT: Australian Wearable Art Festival 2024.

WHEN: Friday, August 9, 7pm, and Saturday, August 10, noon and 6.30pm

WHERE: Venue 114, 114 Sportsmans Parade, Bokarina.

COST: Matinee tickets from $90, evening tickets from $120. Pensioner and student concessions are available.

Visit australianwearableart.com.au.

MEET THE JUDGES

Jacinta Giles                          Julia Rose

The 2024 Australian Wearable Art Festival’s two esteemed judges are keen to see the wearable art platform elevated.

The judges are Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art assistant curator of international art Dr Jacinta Giles and internationally renowned floral and wearable artist Julia Rose.

Dr Giles looks forward to bringing her immersive experience, which includes nearly 100 garments interacting with contemporary artworks, natural history specimens and cultural artefacts, to this year’s festival.

“In my capacity as a curator, I’m excited by the opportunity to continue to expand my understanding of how designers are combining body adornment, innovation and craftsmanship to blur the line between fashion and art,” she says.

“At this year’s Australian Wearable Art Festival, I will be looking for how the designers have fused creativity and innovation to design something that is not only unique but is capable of capturing the imagination of its viewers.”

Dr Giles is thrilled to see the multi-genre medium enjoying a spotlight on the Australian and a global stage.

“Platforms such as Instagram and Twitter [X] have provided an avenue for designers and wearable art communities to showcase their creations to a global audience,” she says.

“Notable personalities like Lady Gaga and Beyoncé (are) further elevating the visibility of wearable art through their red-carpet appearances and performances.”

With more than two decades of industry experience, including as creative director for the Main Beach Spring Flower Festival (Gold Coast), Julia Rose is a highly regarded floral artist with an international reputation for her organic and naturally eclectic wearable art designs, immersive installations and event décor.

Ms Rose says the AWAF plays a vital role in the Australian arts landscape by building bonds within the industry that allow designers to share stories and be encouraged to continue their journey.

“Festivals like Australian Wearable Art Festival encourage, inspire and embrace emerging designers, contributing to the growth and recognition in this field,” Ms Rose says.

“But it is not only the recognition of the artists that is vital. It is also bringing together like-minded artists to take inspiration from each other, bringing all these creatives together in one location.”

At this year’s judging panel, Ms Rose is looking forward to the interplay of creative exposure across all the entries, which she describes as “the moment”.

“I love seeing the frenzy of the backstage area, the nerves, the joy, then ‘the moment’,” Ms Rose says.

“That moment of the designer’s pieces walking onto the stage, it stands bare, stripped to the world, exposing their creativity. The fusion of fashion, art and performance on the runway at AWAF is an enthralling experience. I always find each category unveils a new world of unique creativity. From intentionally understated designs to wild and dramatic ones, every genre intrigues and delights.”

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