2008 theatre alumna could strike gold in international costume design competition
After graduation, Miami University alumni take their newly honed skills everywhere they can. Shiree Houf, a 2008 theatre major and Ohioan freelance costume designer, just sent hers to New Zealand.
On July 7, Houf found out her costume, “Captain King Midas,” was selected as one of 120 finalists in the international competition, World of WearableArt (WOW). From September 20-October 8, her wearable artwork will be modeled in front of about 60,000 audience members and fellow designers.
Houf plans to fly to the show and awards ceremony on September 22. There, she gets to publicize herself, network, workshop and possibly earn rewards of $1,500 to $30,000 NZ.
Although she had hoped for this opportunity for over five years, Houf started building on her passion all the way back when she went to Miami.
While there, Houf won Miami’s Outstanding Achievement in Theatre award, worked in the costume and scene shop and designed the costumes and set for “Cloud Tectonics.” Now, she turns what she learned into pieces for drag performances, pageants and contests.
“I cannot imagine what my life would look like if I were not at Miami,” Houf said. “I learned something life-changing from every single professor I had.”
Houf applied to WOW’s Gold Section in early spring 2022 and immediately color-sketched and sourced for materials. She decided on PVC pipe, chicken wire, tulle netting and pool noodles for a completely gold look from the outside to the brass hardware inside.
She spent over four months on “Captain King Midas,” a pirate outfit with cowboy boots and a kraken on its back, before shipping it out in March.
“My best pieces I make are huge, over-the-top, and one-of-a-kind,” Houf said. “I imagine and construct things that are not confined to our traditional concepts of what is wearable.”
If Houf wins any money at WOW or even her favorite award for the Weta Workshop internship, she wants to pursue cobbling lessons next.
In the meantime, Houf thanks the Miami faculty who inspired her to this golden moment: Meggan Peters, Lynn Conaway Benson, Steve Pauna, Tom Featherstone, Gion DeFrancesco, Julia Guichard, Sally Harrison-Pepper and Paul Jackson.
Watch out for more soon on Houf’s website!