Prasansha Saha doesnt exactly remember the first time she heard about the World Of Wearable Art (WOW). But the 25-year-old designer clearly recollects wanting to participate in this international art and fashion event since her student days at NIFT (National Institute of Fashion Technology),Mumbai. With our faculty sending in garments of wearable art,the awards always held an aspirational value for me, she says. So when the Delhi-based designer who runs the label Aharin along with graphics expert Ashish Tagra got word that their design was among the shortlisted creations for this years edition,her reaction was one of pleasant surprise. We are the only ones from India to get selected this year. The initial round in March drew around 3,000 applications from around the world and the list was whittled down to 370 in April. We were then shortlisted to 28 names. Without doubt,this is a big honour for us, she says.
Held in Wellington,New Zealand,WOW is an annual event that is known to attract creations that range from the innovative to the downright eccentric. Manish Arora had also shown at the festival in 2008 with a Swarovski crystal-bejewelled Butterfly Dress which featured over 1,000 hand-embroidered sewn butterflies.
This year,WOW was held at Wellingtons TSB Bank Arena on September 27 where a lavish fashion show saw the shortlisted creations get paraded on the ramp. Sahas berth-winning entry was inspired by the Garden of Eden. The dress captured the greenery of the mythical landscape from fruits and plants to flowers and birds. Their idea was to create a dress that represented both good and evil. On one hand,we captured natures beauty through the garden but at the same time,there is a serpent trying to tempt Eve, says the designer.
This hasnt been the duos first attempt at seeking glory at WOW. Last year too they had sent an entry albeit as part of the Bizarre Bra category (the duo made one with LED lights). WOW only allows garments that can be worn at least 20 times. Our creation was entirely made out of paper,so we failed the durability test, says Saha .
So while the Garden of Eden dress which was shortlisted in the South Asian Pacific category was crafted out of a stretchable fabric (read: lycra mesh),the leaves,the birds,and the serpent were hand-stitched on to the garment. The leaves were made of paper but the insects and birds were made of acrylic. The fruit replicas were made using thermocol, says Saha.