From its humble beginnings, WoolOn has become a regular feature on the Central Otago Events Calendar. Now attracting entries from all over New Zealand and overseas, it has grown from a small show on a very limited budget into multiple events and a fashion extravaganza.
Wool is an important story not only for Central Otago where the Awards are held but also for New Zealand. The Central Otago region’s landscape has always been the perfect backdrop to inspire designers’ fashion clothing over the years.
The WoolOn Creative Fashion Event makes the connection between fibre, art, and glamour. You see bold cutting edge design created from a beautiful raw product. All garments entered must be 75% wool and there are nine categories in the event.
The first show was in 2004 in Molyneux Park Stadium in Alexandra. Over the years the aim has been to raise the production standards and present a fashion event on par with anything in New Zealand. This is a celebration of wool fibre, recognising the traditional creative arts such as knitting, as well as exploring new design and encouraging younger people to get involved. The event includes the popular Streetwear, Special Occasion, and Avant-Garde sections. Also, an exciting section called Collections that allow designers to enter their garments with a common look and feel. In recognition of the many techniques suitable for creating wool garments, there are specialised craft sections and a new Accessories section to showcase designers' talents more broadly. To encourage young designers there is the Under 23 Emerging Designer Award or the Novice section for designers who may be experienced in their craft but haven’t previously entered an awards event. 2021 sees the addition of a new recycled category, showcasing wool as a sustainable fibre with long life.
Judges are from a range of fields – Fashion, education and industry leaders lending their talent and experience to an outstanding event. WoolOn relies on sponsorship, volunteers, and involvement from local businesses not only for the front of house but behind the scenes during the months of preparation.
WoolOn’s vision is to become New Zealand’s leading organisation for showcasing and developing wool design and artistry. To achieve this, the aim is to provide unique, high-quality events and programmes that showcase wool design in New Zealand and support the development of existing and new designers.
The WoolOn team is comprised of a group of professional, committed and passionate men and women from Central Otago who are focused on delivering inspirational and unique experiences that consistently inspire and impress our community, our audience and partners.