Art Meets Fashion, Darling at Australian Wearable Art Festival

Image source: IN Noosa Magazine

Art meets fashion in a festival that could stand proudly alongside the iconic Paris Fashion Week or Met Gala. Carlie “wearable art lover” Wacker gets ready for one of the nation’s biggest and best Avant Garde art fashion events.

Australian Wearable Art Festival (AWAF) is an art and fashion immersion that will leave you inspired by the creativity of artisans and fashionistas and make you think twice about how we recycle and reuse everyday items and materials. 

Every year since its inception in 2017, AWAF has grown to attract artists, fashion designers and creatives both on stage and in the crowd. 

Founded by Wendy Roe and Helen Perry, the must-attend art fashion event has grown exponentially and with record submissions, 40 national and international works have now been chosen to walk the 27-metre-long catwalk in a show that may just blow your mind.  

Curator Wendy Roe says the momentum around the event is palpable and has attracted serious talent.

“Our finalists hail from as far as Poland, Germany and the United States, as well as a continued strong representation from Queensland and the rest of Australia,” she enthuses.

“What makes this event so unique is the garments are made from a range of unlikely materials. Everything from ring pull tabs, bicycle tyres, flowers, teabags, feathers – any found object – and they are transformed into haute couture!” 

The Festival has four main categories including Trashion, Sustainable Nature, Floriana; and Avant Garde with an Overall Winner, and accolades and prizes for Emerging Artist and Best Headpiece.

I was lucky enough to be involved in the early years of AWAF where I took the proof sheets from printing IN Noosa Magazine to create a Papier-mâché dress and headpiece – it was one of the highlights of my life. Now that the competition is so intense, I am very happy to observe in awe this year. 

“Last year we saw our Avant Garde and overarching Supreme Winners, Evita Camilleri and Dan Draper (known collaboratively as DerbyCross) deliver Water Memory for the Arid Soul,” Wendy recalls. “It was two pieces made from garden hose and more than 2000 cable ties painstakingly weaved together.

“This combination of materials created spikes and spines which was almost reptilian in nature – and a sight to behold!” 

Evita and Dan are a husband-and-wife team who often collaborate on sculptural art pieces but it was a first time foray into the wearable art medium, with the couple even wearing the works themselves and creating a show-stopping performance that had the audience transfixed. They have been selected as finalists again this year so keep a lookout for their new creation. 

This year, AWAF has announced that Fifi Colston will be joining the Festival as the international judge. Ms Colston was the winner of the Aotearoa Section and runner-up to the Supreme Award at the World of Wearable Art in 2022 in Wellington with fellow artist Bruce Mahalski with their creation, Fera Dei – a piece intricately layered with animal bones and printed fabrics.

Ms Colston brings a wealth of experience and expertise as not only a wearable art designer and multiple Award-winner working as a costume and props maker for the film and television industry; but is also a well-known writer, illustrator, TV presenter and workshop facilitator. Kudos!

The event has outgrown its original venue in Eumundi and has expanded to include two evening runway shows, a matinee and a display of previous wearable artworks at the Caloundra Regional Gallery. 

The Australian Wearable Art Festival promises to be a sensory explosion from the moment you enter the venue. It is sculptural art, meets high-end fashion, meets circular eco-chic goodness. 

It will change the way you view art and fashion and is in my opinion, the premiere event on the social calendar for 2023. Don’t miss it!


6pm, Friday 11 August

12pm, Saturday 12 August – Matinee

6pm, Saturday 12 August – Winners announced

Venue 114 , 114 Sportsmans Parade, Bokarina 

Matinee Tickets from $70 to $90

Evening Tickets from $99 to $135

Pensioner and Student concessions available

About the Author /

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Carlie Wacker has worked in the media entertainment industry for over 20 years. From television to stage and radio she has been lucky enough to work her way around the whole country. Over the last 10 years she has styled and choreographed innovative fashion parades and talent shows and brings her love for fashion and entertainment as our Fashion Editor. She is also an MC, voice-over artist and radio announcer.

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