World of WearableArt Up Close at Te Papa

An extravagant new exhibition at Te Papa will immerse visitors in the very best of global art and design.

World of WearableArt – Up Close (Ao KākahuToi – Kia Tata) is a brand-new exhibition featuring garments from World of WearableArt, the world’s most significant wearable art competition.

The exhibition runs from Saturday 29 August to Friday 9 October. Tickets are now on sale at

Te Papa Chief Executive | Tumu Whakarae Courtney Johnston said the exhibition showcases global creativity, and Kiwi ingenuity.

“This theatrical experience lets visitors get up close with more than 35 stunning garments.”

“WOW garments really are a labour of love. In this exhibition you can see every intricate detail and read how the maker conceived and crafted their garment,” says Courtney Johnston.

The garments on display include avant-garde pieces woven from 500 abandoned music festival tents, and a wearable Axminster carpet inspired by Frida Kahlo.

Garments come from New Zealand designers, and from as far afield as China, Indonesia and Poland.

WOW is an internationally renowned wearable art competition that each year attracts entries from over 40 countries. Its 2020 competition and show were cancelled due to covid-19.

David Tingey, World of WearableArt Chief Executive says the WOW Awards Show will be back in 2021.

“While there isn’t a WOW Awards Show this year, this brand new bespoke exhibition lets people get up close and experience the WOW phenomenon in a whole new way,” says David Tingey.

“We look forward to sharing some of the most incredible garments that have adorned our stage, in a completely different environment,” says Mr Tingey.

Alongside the exhibition, Te Papa will offer a series of special events, from a glittering opening gala on Friday August 28, to WOW evening events, floor talks, dinners and high teas.

“We know that WOW is a social occasion for lots of Kiwis,” says Te Papa Chief Executive | Tumu Whakarae Courtney Johnston.

“These events are a chance to come together and celebrate the colour and creativity of the global WOW community,” Ms Johnston says.

Ticket pricing

Adult $22.50
Child $7.50
Family (2 adults 2 children) $52.50
Concession $19.50

Tickets for exhibition and special events on sale now at

Images for download

Download images here. Link includes image captions and photo credits.

By the numbers

  • More than 35 award-winning works of wearable art

  • 8 countries of origin: Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, United States.

  • 18 garments from New Zealand designers

  • 500 abandoned tents used to make Woven In-tent

  • 1987 The World of WearableArt was founded

  • 39 designers in the exhibition

  • 6 Supreme WOW Award-winning garments in the exhibition

  • Includes garments from 18 years of World of WearableArt

Media contact

Kate Camp
Head of Marketing and Communications, Te Papa
029 601 0180