Havelock North designer Kate MacKenzie managed to shine among 147 designers from 17 countries vying for 39 awards in the World of Wearable Arts competition in Wellington.

Her garment, Axminstress was 2nd in the avant-garde section and runner-up for the Sustainability Award on Friday night.

MacKenzie is a practising artist and former WOW Supreme Award winner, who took her inspiration from carpets and hall runners for her 2018 entry.

She lamented the replacing of "woollen works of art that graced our floors and warmed our hearts." with "beige colourless weavings" and upcycled childhood memories into this avant-garde garment.


She sourced the Axminster carpets from TradeMe.

"The floral carpet was the exact image in my head ... I don't know why I had such a connection to this carpet, but it may be that my Grandma had it in her house."

Although MacKenzie fell in love with the carpet, it required a lot of cleaning before she was able to do anything with it.

"I hired a professional carpet cleaner and did a million rain dances on the upturned rugs to dislodge years of grit embedded into the wool."

This isn't MacKenzie's first award, as she won the Supreme WOW Award in 2014 for Poly Nation.

This is her sixth finalist garment.

WOW celebrated its 30th anniversary season this year and the spectacular stage show draws an outstanding 60,000 people, with 40,000 of them travelling to the capital city from around New Zealand and the globe.

This year entries from 44 countries and regions competed for the spotlight and a record 17 countries and regions were represented in the show, showcasing finalist designs by professionals from the fashion, art, design, costume and theatre industries, alongside students and first-time enthusiasts.

WOW allows the opportunity for creative designers to experiment, push boundaries and explore design, materials and techniques.

This year's Supreme WOW Award winner went to sisters Natasha English and Tatyanna Meharry from Christchurch.

Their design WAR sTOrY won the hearts of the judges and the sisters are the first two-time supreme award winners, having taken the top award in 2013 for The Exchange.