Changing courses part-way through has reaped rewards for AUT creative technologies student Sophie McIntyre.
Darling, a hastily cobbled together entry by Sophie and colleagues Lara Galea and Ingrid Worrall, was judged runner-up in the WOW Factor award in the World of Wearable Art Awards in Wellington.
Made with laser-printed spandex over chicken wire, the garment is deliberately grotesque, says Sophie who grew up on Waiheke and retains family ties here.
“It’s designed to resemble a circus freak from a future world in which genetic engineers have become artists.
“When she slouches and rests her hands on her knees, the mechanical lesions covering her body pulsate, expressing discomfort towards her exploitation. Her design is inspired by trans-humanist theories and the aim was to create something uncomfortable to look at, but still relatable.”
The three students’ WOW entry stemmed from a course assignment called Digital Skin.
The 28th World of Wearable Art Awards, which wrap-up in Wellington on Sunday, drew an international field of over 160 designers.
“It was all a bit of a blur,” Sophie told Gulf News. “We were first-time entrants constructing a garment in just a few weeks up against professionals who’d been working on their designs for six months. Just to get through pre-selection was amazing.
“None of us had done any sewing before so stitching a thing like that together was a challenge.”
The success is a real boost for Sophie, 21, who took a gap year after leaving Waiheke High School because she was uncertain about pursuing a creative arts career. Then, this year, she transferred from a Bachelor of Visual Arts degree to a Bachelor of Creative Technologies. “It’s always good to get some validation.”
But after the glamour of the awards show, it’s back to work with a studio presentation due at the end of the semester.
• Geoff Cumming

Subscribe and read Gulf News and Waiheke Weekender Online