New categories and mini-events aimed at expanding the appeal of Alexandra’s iconic WoolOn fashion festival, are drawing new followers to the event, organisers say.
Organising committee co-chair, Leonie Williamson, said the group were delighted with entries received in two new categories for this year’s show, to be held over the weekend of August 17th and 18th.
“We’ve had good entries overall, with an increase from last year but we’re particularly pleased that the new categories for wool fashion accessories and for novices have attracted that fresh, young talent everyone loves to see. Also the award we have for designers aged under 23 years continues to encourage that demographic to enter the main categories.”
Leonie Williamson, Organising committee co-chair.
Mrs Williamson said the event had a solid base of exceptionally talented designers from throughout the country who never failed to impress with their highly-original catwalk creations.
“It can be quite an undertaking however, for less experienced or established designers, to produce an entire outfit. We hoped that by creating a category where entrants only had to produce an accessory such as jewellery, a scarf, wrap, shoes or head-wear, it would make the competition more accessible. It seems to have paid off which is great.”
The new novice category was open to designers who had not entered any previous competition and as with all entries, garments had to be made of at least 75% wool, she said.
“Designers under 23 years entering any category are eligible for a special award too. We encourage them to exhibit strong awareness of contemporary and future fashion. Our young designers will be rewarded for experimentation and re-imaginings or subversions of the rules of fashion as we know them.”
All the creations will be revealed at a the New World First Look evening on Friday, August 17 and at the Rural Women New Zealand WoolOn Awards on Saturday, August 18. A Judges Insight Workshop for designers and an Upclose Event for the public will be held the following day at Central Stories Museum. The overall winning garments will again form a specially curated exhibition at the Museum post-event.
“As well as putting on a fabulous show, we really want to inspire people to learn about wool’s wonderful qualities and the endless possibilities it offers in craft and design. It’s exciting to be getting so much great support from sponsors and media interest in WoolOn already.”
Further innovations were in the pipeline, she said, and an announcement would be made shortly on ticket sales.
Two of long-time entrant Daphne Randell's previous WoolOn entries. Photo Credit Lisa Davidson