A breast cancer scare and a loathing of trophy hunting inspired a Northland woman to the finals of the iconic World of Wearable Arts show in Wellington.

A design called Vile Trophy by Isa Hackett, of Kerikeri, was chosen as a finalist in the "bizarre bra" section of the World of Wearable Arts. Entrants can create a bra in any style using any material.

Hackett's entry consisted of needle-felted trophy heads of a lion and a gazelle and ammunition belts complete with bullets. The materials were sourced from Kerikeri op shops to keep the costs down.

Her artwork was a protest against trophy hunting of endangered species but also a reaction to a breast cancer scare last year. She was eventually cleared but her time at hospital in Whangārei with women who weren't so lucky inspired her to get creative.


Winning her section in last year's wearable arts show in Dargaville gave her confidence to enter the national event. Acting and making costumes for Kerikeri's two amateur theatre companies was another confidence booster.

Hackett was stunned to make the finals of the World of Wearable Arts on her first attempt.

She travelled to Wellington for the awards night on September 29; the show, including her bra, ran until October 14.

Isa Hackett's
Isa Hackett's "bizarre bra", titled Vile Trophy, reached the finals of the World of Wearable Arts in Wellington. Photo / WOW

"I had my head in the clouds hanging out with all these amazing people," she said.

She hasn't decided yet whether to enter again in 2019.

"It's so much work but you make so many friends … If the inspiration and something beautiful comes along, I will."

WOW is an internationally renowned design competition that attracts entries from over 40 countries. Anything that is wearable art can find a place on the stage, as long as it is original, innovative and well executed.

For three weeks every year, WOW showcases the best of these creations in a spectacular show that takes over Wellington in an explosion of creativity. This year 60,000 people will see the show.