Vancouver designer named a finalist in massive global fashion competition

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      Vancouver-based fashion designer Grandy C. has been named a finalist in the 2023 World of WearableArt (WOW) global competition in New Zealand.  

      “It's like Cirque du Soleil meets Met Gala, but more extra,” Grandy says. “As a fashion designer previously focused on demi-couture and red carpet looks, this marks a new direction into the world of sculptural and visual art.”

      After four years working in the financial sector, she realized that fashion design was her calling, so she created Atelier Grandi in 2014. Her designs have since been seen in British Vogue, Glamour, and Forbes, as well as on the red carpet of the Academy Awards and on the runways of Amazon Fashion Week TOKYO and Vancouver Fashion Week.

      Atelier Grandi designer Grandy C.

      WOW’s competition takes place in the form of an elaborate stage show, which features not only the competing designs, but also acrobats, dancers, props, and music. It runs from September 20 to October 8 in Wellington, New Zealand, with people able to buy tickets each night to see the spectacle with their own eyes. The 2022 WOW show had a combined audience of almost 64,000.

      “Once again we find ourselves in awe at the level of creative ingenuity, craftmanship, and pure inventiveness that designers bring to the WOW Competition,” WOW head of competition Sarah Nathan says in a press release. “This year’s finalists also provide moments of reflection and conversation as they present back to us some of the most pressing global issues of our time. Fast fashion waste, mental health, women’s empowerment, climate change, and online bullying are all conveyed through the most extraordinary creations of wearable art.”

      This year, there are over 120 designers from 23 countries around the world. Up for grabs is $185,000 NZD (a bit under $150,000 CAD) in awards and prizes. Ahead of the show’s premiere, Grandy says that she can’t give too much away about her chosen garment itself—which perhaps means those of us not in New Zealand will just have to keep our eyes glued to WOW’s Instagram to see it all unfold (and cheer on our hometown finalist).