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WOW hits Wellington tomorrow

It’s now thirtysomething and as popular as ever, so if you want to see this year’s World of WearableArt, you better get on to it.

Now celebrating its 30th year, the world’s leading wearable art design competition opens tomorrow night at the TSB Arena on Queen’s Wharf.

And its popularity in Wellington, its home since 2005 when it moved here from Nelson, shows no sign of abating.

Hundreds of entries come from all over the world, with the 2018 show featuring 140 finalist garments by 147 designers from 17 countries (up from 13 in 2017). Sixty-five of the designers are from New Zealand, with 83 finalist designers returning to compete again this year, and eight previous Supreme WOW Award winners in the 2018 show

Audiences will be flocking to the season of 16 shows taking place over this weekend, on Thursday to Sunday next week, and Wednesday to Sunday the week following.

There are still some standby tickets available to Opening Night tomorrow, but Friday’s Awards Night and six other performances are already sold out. Most others only have standby Premium tickets ($140:00) and some restricted view options ($50:00) available.

The WOW display outside the venue on Queen’s Wharf

The total audience for WOW 2018 is expected to total around 60,000, with about 70 per cent of the audience travelling from outside of Wellington. The economic value to the city is estimated at $25.2 million in new spending according to the last economic impact assessment in 2016.

The WOW team of more than 300 people draws on local creative industries across theatre, dance, music and production, as finalist garments compete for awards across six sections.

The 2018 competition has three recurrent sections (Aotearoa, Open and Avant-garde) and three sections with design briefs specific to 2018 (Reflective Surfaces, Under the Microscope and Bizarre Bra).

The range of awards has a total prize pool of more than $170,000.