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Creative wearable art displays around the city

Three Year 13 Materials Technology students have created wearable art garments now on display around Wellington.

Emma Coleman, Isabel Nicholls and McKenzie Still have been working on their projects since the beginning of the year.

A mannequin displaying a wearable arts garment depicting women's suffrage in New Zealand.
A mannequin wearing a wearable arts piece with the theme of the impact of pollution on marine life.
A mannequin in a wearable arts project made of plastic bags.

Emma’s piece is called “Suffragette” and is based on the Women’s Suffrage Petition.

Her display commemorates women’s fight to vote in New Zealand and the freedom women have today because of it.

“My design represents a contemporary woman clothed in the symbols of the past. I used a white camellia flower,  an internationally recognised symbol of the suffrage movement, in the stylised floral motifs in my work.

“I cut domestic sewing pattern paper into what symbolises petition pages with signatures copied from photos of the actual petition. My garment design is a contemporary elegant shape that references historical female clothing silhouettes of the 1890s. Vintage colours and translucent materials are used to strike a visual balance between modern and historical eras and to give an archival effect.”

Emma’s wearable art project will be displayed at the National Archives until Wednesday 30 October.

Isabel’s project is called “Coastal Collision” and is themed around coastal and marine conservation.

She created her garment out of self-collected plastic bottles, plastic bags, fishing net and sustainably sourced paua to represent how harmful materials effect the marine environment.

“My wearable art design represents the collision of natural beauty, seen in the paua shell bodice, and the disposable plastics styled visually as a ‘glamorous’ dress. The kelp effect on the korowai (shoulder cloak) was created by heat manipulating disposable plastic bottles cut into shape and spray painted. The ocean waves on the skirt were created by heat-manipulating single-use plastic bags. The net symbolises that it is not just fish that gets caught in the water. My intent in this work is to make people think about conservation of our coastal and marine environments.”

Isabel’s wearable art project led the launch of the Department of Conservations’ next national campaign – Marine and Coastal Conservation. It will be on display at the DOC Visitor Centre on Manners Street from next week.

McKenzie’s garment is called “Changing History” and is based on environmental impacts.

Through it she wishes to provoke discussion around what has changed for women, past to present.

“My vision for this work was to symbolise the strength of women and how we need to stand strong against the environmental issues we face today. In particular I am making a comment on the environmental impacts caused by modern day materials such as single-use plastic bags. The silhouette of my garment design is based on 1800’s Victorian Dress, typified by the voluminous crinoline skirt which was formed by a wire caged under-structure that women of that era had to wear. Today we have freedom in our choice of clothing but symbolically we are still caged by the volume of plastic material that is causing environmental destruction on an epic scale.

“My garment is constructed from hundreds of white enviro-compostable bags that were donated to me for this project. Today, we need to consider the materials we wear, use and dispose of in our everyday living. Disposable plastic picnic plates were cut into environmental awareness words and heat manipulated to symbolise destructive forces.”

McKenzie’s wearable art project will be on display in the QMC Library from next week for remainder of this year.