Rather than wearable art, the term "industrial design" likely conjures up visions of automobiles, whiteware and machinery.
That's too limiting to describe what industrial designer Dylan Mulder does and how, in turn, he's putting the wow factor into our creative sector thanks, in part, to the World of Wearable Art.
Born in Mosgiel, Mulder travelled the world with his Dutch father and Maori mother, living in Switzerland, Holland and Australia where he went to high school. He returned to New Zealand to study design at Victoria University in Wellington.
Always keen on making things, Mulder wanted to be an inventor but didn't fully appreciate where his creative streak came from. It turns out he is descended from master weaver (tohunga raranga) Dame Rangimarie Hetet; a quote at one of her exhibitions was a source of inspiration for him:
"O coming generations, listen, be strong
Uplift the arts left by our ancestors
for the good of the people of Aotearoa."
"In the last two years, I've realised my family heritage. I've got lots to learn but it helps me understand why I'm so driven to create a rise in the creative consciousness of NZ," says Mulder, who spent time at Weta Workshop making props and costumes for The Hobbit trilogy.
Now 30, he has been a regular entrant and winner in the annual design competition, now in its 29th year. Last year, he won the Wearable Technology and Cirque du Soleil Awards for his futuristic Digital Stealth God, a sci-fi looking creation, made using the type of technology many of us think is futuristic.
Except it's here and now.
A freelance designer who's worked in the movie industry, Mulder uses computer-aided design software, laser cutting, 3D and 4D printing and virtual reality tools. He can combine these with more traditional techniques, such as casting and moulding, to finish crafting garments, and it helps that he's long been a keen model-maker.
(Mulder describes 4D printing as making a product with the ability to change after it's made. For example, the colour might change under sunlight or elements of it could grow when they come into contact with water).
Last year, he worked with WOW and sponsor Air New Zealand to create a garment in virtual reality. Components were 3D printed before being assembled on a mannequin. That garment was displayed throughout the WOW Awards show, a nod to the changing face of design.
Mulder says being part of WOW has given him a chance to develop and test new ideas, advance his skills and techniques and "play" with some cutting-edge technology. Winning a one-month internship to work at Cirque du Soleil's Canadian headquarters allowed him to further develop these skills.
He's continued to work for the entertainment behemoth from his Wellington studio and the exposure has led to more international opportunities. He also speaks to design students and says he likes helping other creatives.
"If we can raise the bar of creative confidence and achievement then we can raise our country's profile in the sector," he says.
"I work digitally and can send designs to anywhere in the world that can then be turned into tangible products. There's no reason why we can't be an island of innovation where we push digital outsourcing. It's a sustainable resource and the way of the future; a future I want to be part of."
For Mulder, the wow factor in WOW is because it's open to anyone who wants to try their hand at designing a garment in one of its six categories: Aotearoa New Zealand, Open and Avant-Garde; and three sections with design briefs specific to 2017 - Red, Illumination Illusion: Float, Fly, Flow and Weta Workshop Costume and Film: Science Fiction.
He says the range of garments on display makes it exciting for audiences who number in their thousands. This year, the competition has included 103 garments made by 121 designers from 14 countries.
Preliminary judging took place in July, with WOW founder Dame Suzie Moncrieff, designer and artists Kerrie Hughes and Michel Tuffery deciding on the garments to go through to the awards show. Weta Workshop's Sir Richard Taylor and Cirque du Soleil's Valerie Desjardins will join the judging panel. The awards show is New Zealand's biggest theatrical production.
Though he hasn't entered this year, freelance designer Mio Guberinic returns to judge the WOW Window Dressing Competition. Last year, he and designer Alexa Cach placed second in the Avant-Garde category and won the First-time Entrant award with a (jewelled) beetle-encrusted garment, Khepri. With designer Corey Gomes, they also placed first in the Bizarre Bra competition.
New York-based Guberinic has worked for Madonna, Tiffany & Co and Prada; last year, he helped make puppets for the movie Sing. But he says he's never seen anything like WOW.
"I didn't know there was a show - I thought the bits I'd seen were some sort of promotion," he says.
"I couldn't believe it when I arrived and discovered the performance aspect to it. It's totally unique."
Mulder and Guberinic met through WOW's designer programme and they're interested in working together.
"The people behind WOW and their energy - they're so supportive and that's good for everyone involved," says Mulder.
"It's like a competition without the competitiveness. WOW can give you an inch and you can make that inch into a mile if you're smart enough."
What: World of WearableArt (WOW)
Where & when: TSB Bank Arena, Wellington; September 21-October 8