World of WearableArt (WOW) WINNER

Wellington, New Zealand
September 22, 2023

World of WearableArt (WOW) garment for 2023, Digital Ascension of Kitsune, has won the International Design Award: Overall, International Design Award: Americas, and Winner of the Gold Section.

The Digital Ascension of Kitsune is a digital-era retelling of the classic “ascension” folk tale. The common fox, after living for fifty years, begins to cultivate mischievous powers, even shapeshifting into a beautiful woman. After a thousand years, having grown all nine tails, it turns gold and ascends to heaven.

Digital Ascension of Kitsune
Latex, acrylic, plastic film, steel

About Our Kitsune

Files uploaded to the digital cloud can carry more than just ones and zeros. What if everyone's interaction with the internet captured a bit of their beliefs, a trace of their culture, and a part of their soul? The “cloud” becomes a digital heaven; a compendium of humanity.

Dawn spent several years living in rural Hida Takayama, Japan and learned many local legends. Snow’s Vietnamese heritage has inspired her to explore the spiritual beliefs of her mother’s culture. They were fascinated that the fox spirit folk tale is ubiquitous across Japan, Vietnam, China, and Korea. Together, Dawn and Snow question the possibility that our collective memory, history, and stories only remain in the far future as digital uploads in the cloud.

Dawn and Snow’s material choices of latex and acrylic push the bounds of traditional fabrics with inflatable air chambers and bubbles that seem to float over the body. The reinterpretation of the ancient Kitsune folk tale takes advantage of these materials and transforms the nine tailed fox into a futuristic creature. Symbology was created for Kitsune, Dawn, and Snow and are intermingled with the floating bubbles. To create the illusion of the bubbles, gold acrylic was laser cut and thermoformed into hexagonal domes and then linked into small sections. Steel standoffs are mounted under key mounting bubbles and then bonded to the latex. The aesthetic of origami and traditional papercraft was referenced when developing the faceted design of the mask, tail tips, and claws.

The Kitsune folk tale of the one thousand year old fox ascending to heaven is an allegory of the physical change of humans. Like the Kitsune, the collective beliefs of humanity survives beyond death and the passage of time. Humans have changed tremendously in just a thousand years. What will we be in another thousand years? Will we become just another folk tale?

Dawn Mostow & Snow Winters
United States
This mischievous nine-tailed fox spirit, a thousand years old, ascends to digital heaven.

The Guardian's Best Photos of the Day

Selected by Natasha Rees-Bloor
Wed 20 Sep 2023 09.54 EDT

A creation by the US designers Dawn Mostow and Snow Winters at the 2023 World of WearableArt preview show

Photograph: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images for World of WearableArt

2023 World of WearableArt Finalist

"WOW is a world renowned wearable art experience, where an annual design competition culminates in a spectacular show."

-World of WearbleArt, Wellington, New Zealand