Jun 06

As the Australian Wearable Art Festival’s 39 national and international entrants prepare their artworks to wow festival audiences, this year’s two esteemed judges, QAGOMA Assistant Curator of International Art Jacinta Giles and internationally renowned floral and wearable artist Julia Rose, are keen to see this unique art platform elevated.

With the event taking place from Friday 9 August to Saturday 10 August, these two judges are tasked to assess a fresh wave of wearable art talent from across the globe, on the Festival’s iconic 27-metre-long catwalk, reminiscent of Met Gala and Paris Fashion Week runways, at Venue 114 on the Sunshine Coast.

Recently emerging from co-curating QAGOMA’s ‘Iris van Herpen: Sculpting the Senses’ exhibition, opening on June 29, Jacinta Giles contributes a depth of experience and industry insight to the Australian Wearable Art Festival judging panel.

Dr Giles said she looks forward to bringing her immersive experience with van Herpen’s practice, which includes nearly 100 garments interacting with contemporary artworks, natural history specimens and cultural artefacts, to this year’s Festival.

“In my capacity as a curator, I’m excited by the opportunity to continue to expand my understanding of how designers are combining body adornment, innovation and craftsmanship to blur the line between fashion and art,” Dr Giles said.

“At this year’s Australian Wearable Art Festival, I will be looking for how the designers have fused creativity and innovation to design something that is not only unique but is capable of capturing the imagination of its viewers.”

With exhibitions like ‘Iris van Herpen: Sculpting the Senses’ and the continued success of the Australian Wearable Art Festival demonstrating the nation’s hunger for wearable art, Dr Giles said she is thrilled to see the multi-genre medium enjoying a spotlight on both an Australian and a global stage.

“Platforms such as Instagram and Twitter have provided an avenue for designers and wearable art communities to showcase their creations to a global audience, with notable personalities like Lady Gaga and Beyoncé further elevating the visibility of wearable art through their red-carpet appearances and performances,” Dr Giles said.

With over two decades of industry experience including as Creative Director for the Main Beach Spring Flower Festival, Julia Rose is a highly regarded floral artist with an international reputation for her organic and naturally eclectic wearable art designs, immersive installations and event décor.

Ms Rose said events like Australian Wearable Art Festival play a vital role in the Australian arts landscape by building bonds within the industry that allow designers to share stories and be encouraged to continue their journey.

“Festivals like Australian Wearable Art Festival encourage, inspire and embrace emerging designers, contributing to the growth and recognition in this field,” Ms Rose said.

“But, it is not only the recognition of the artists that is vital, it is also bringing together like-minded artists to take inspiration from each other, bringing all these creatives together in one location.”

Festival curator, Wendy Roe, said she is proud the event stands at the forefront of the Australian wearable art movement, providing a platform for artists and designers to showcase their creations.

“As a meeting point of art, fashion, costuming and technology, the festival features four main categories – Trashion, Sustainable Nature, Floriana, and Avant Garde – along with recognising an overall winner, emerging artist, best representation of haute-couture and the best headpiece,” Ms Roe said.

“Last year’s Supreme Winner, Isabelle Cameron, will return in 2024 with Stardust – a high-impact crochet piece incorporating movement and volume with exaggerated limbs, a high contrast colourway and a ruffled, crochet mohawk.

“Isabelle’s practice regularly examines both the trepidation and joy of authentic self-expression and this piece tells a story of a crochet sea monster plucked from the seaweed – for the first time the world sees them for exactly who they are and the sea monster is terrified.”

At this year’s judging panel, Ms Rose said she will be awaiting this interplay of creative exposure across all the entries, which she describes as “the moment”.

“I love seeing the frenzy of the backstage area, the nerves, the joy, then ‘the moment,’” Ms Rose said.

“That moment of the designer’s pieces walking onto the stage, it stands bare, stripped to the world, exposing their creativity.

“The fusion of fashion, art and performance on the runway at AWAF is an enthralling experience and I always find each category unveils a new world of unique creativity – from intentionally understated designs to wild and dramatic ones, every genre intrigues and delights.”

Australian Wearable Art Festival is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland. Sunshine Coast Council is the official destination partner for the Festival.

The Festival would not be possible without key partners including Visit Sunshine Coast, Argon Law, Hello Sunshine and In Noosa Magazines, Venue 114, 92.7 Mix FM, Fresh PR & Marketing, Horse & Water and Converge Marketing.

Australian Wearable Art Festival will be held Friday 9 August to Saturday 10 August 2024.

To attend the festival, purchase tickets at www.australianwearableart.com.au.

Jacinta Giles

Jacinta Giles serves as the Assistant Curator, International Art, at the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA). Since joining in 2022, Giles has curated ‘Birds of Passage: Ian Fairweather and Paul Jacoulet’ (QAG, 2024–26), delving into the artists’ travels across Asia and the Pacific. She also curated ‘Women in Modern Art’ (QAG, 2024–26), celebrating artists who challenged prewar conventions, and ‘Journey’ (GOMA, 2024), exploring contemporary artists’ reflections on cultural identity. Additionally, Giles contributed to ‘Iris van Herpen: Sculpting the Senses’ (GOMA, 2024), and ‘Air’ (GOMA, 2022). She holds a PhD and MA in Visual Arts from Griffith University, Brisbane.

Julia Rose

With over two decades of experience, Julia Rose is a floral artist known for her diverse portfolio of wearable designs, installations and event decor. Her work has garnered international acclaim, drawing crowds to her interactive installations and earning commissions from clients in the fashion and media industries. Rose’s expertise extends to serving as Creative Director for the Main Beach Spring Flower Festival and conducting workshops globally. With a focus on innovation and meticulous craftsmanship, Rose continues to leave a lasting impression with her timeless floral creations.

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