House of Suarez – Costume Commissions




House of Suarez (HoS) was set up in 2006 by Artistic Director and choreographer Darren Suarez. The company seeks to raise the profile of Vogue Dance styles by creating new works and opportunities for performance and by teaching Vogue dance techniques to professional artists and dancers in training.

Between 2010 and 2019 House of Suarez has produced nine Vogue Ball events in Liverpool, attracting artists and participants from across the North West region, the UK and internationally. The ball was extended into Manchester in 2014 and each year since. The Ball will be extended as a pilot in Leeds, Newcastle and Birmingham in 2019/20.

Inspired by the underground Balls begun in the 60s and 70s in New York’s LGBT communities – that were then popularised by the Documentary film ‘Paris is Burning’ and by Madonna’s hit single ‘Vogue’ and currently by FX TV show ‘POSE’ – The House of Suarez Vogue Balls are major public events that give opportunities for both professional and community artists to compete using dance, costume, makeup, styling and fierce attitudes.

Groups of artists come together in teams – known as ‘Houses’ – and compete on a runway in any or all of five categories in front of a large public audience as well as a panel of industry judges.

All five categories require participants to present heightened styles and attitudes. Two categories focus on dance style and technique whilst the other three focus on costume, character and presentation.

Each year the Houses compete around a given theme with past themes including ‘Twisted Fairy Tales’, ‘Gods and Monsters’, ‘A Space Oddity’ and ‘The Sugar Ball’.

In 2019/20 the theme will be ‘Atlantis’.


In 2019/20 House of Suarez is commissioning three costumes to be presented as part of the style categories at the balls in Liverpool and Manchester.

The Ball of Atlantis is inspired by the legendary lost city of Atlantis said to have disappeared beneath the sea. Think lost worlds, under the ocean and ancient cities reclaimed by nature. Fantastic creatures, mer-people, sea monsters, aquatic life, ancient civilisation.

The commission is open to any costume artist aged 18 or over and based within the UK. We welcome applications from artists in training, emerging artists and experienced designers.

One design will be selected for each of the three costume categories by a panel of industry professionals and the artists will be awarded a budget (to include all materials, labour, storage and transport costs) in order to realise the design into a wearable costume. All costumes will be presented as part of the Liverpool Ball on 19th October 2019 and the Manchester Ball on 22nd February 2020.

The three categories within the Atlantis theme are ‘Fantasy’, ‘Lip-Synch’ and ‘Sex Siren’. The designs MUST follow the theme of ATLANTIS. Any submitted designs that do not meet the theme will be disqualified.


Budget £1000

It’s odd, extravagant or eccentric in style or mode; strikingly out of the ordinary; very strange or unusual. The Fantasy category offers the widest range of creativity and display. The category is larger-than-life. Think installation as costume that must also be practical in presentation for the performer.


Budget £500

Lip-synch is a brand new costume commission category. A model/performer will lip synch to a given track (to be inspired by the chosen costume). Think Rupaul’s Drag Race “lip synch for your life” section. The costume should be wearable for performance and incorporate a “reveal” during the performance. The costume should be attention grabbing and seek to stand out in competition. The costume will be worn by a male performer but the design can be for any gender.


Budget £250

This category celebrates the body beautiful in all shapes and sizes. Less is more but the costume will need to enhance and beautify. It’s all about seduction but without the nudity.

Costumes can be designed for any gender. Artists are welcome to suggest their own models/performers for ‘Fantasy’ and ‘Sex Siren’ but models will need to be available to present the costumes at both Ball events in October and March. HoS will be able to suggest models for the chosen commissions but please indicate within your proposal if this will be necessary. There will be no additional payments for models/performers. Final selections will be based on the quality and ambition of the designs and the panel’s confidence in the ability of the designer / artist to complete the work to a high standard.

After selection the chosen submissions will need to be realised and delivered by the final deadline with up to two fittings arranged in consultation with House of Suarez. The designer will be expected to store their final costume until the end of the second ball in Manchester. The costume will then remain the property of House of Suarez

Time scale

Deadline for all submissions:  Friday 2nd August 2019 by 5pm
Chosen submissions announced:  Friday 16th August 2019

Budgets will be released and fittings arranged in consultation with the artist and House of Suarez.

Final delivery deadline for completed costumes: Friday 18th October 2019

House of Suarez Ball of Atlantis – October 19th 2019
House of Suarez Manchester Ball of Atlantis – 22nd February 2020


Artists may submit designs for costumes in any or all categories. One design only will be selected in each category. Each submission MUST include:

  • Two colour sketches (front and back view) scanned in jpeg or pdf format (maximum file size 3mb).

  • A word or pdf document containing the following information:

    • Up to 250 words detailing your past relevant experience as an artist, designer or maker.

    • Up to 500 words describing your design, its concept, relevance to the category and overall theme and how you intend to realise it.

    • A brief breakdown of how you intend to spend the budget for your chosen category (to include materials, labour (your making fees), transport and any storage costs).

  • One image of one of your previous pieces of work in jpeg format (maximum file size 3mb)

Each submission should be attached to an email with ‘House of Suarez Ball Commission’ and the chosen category for the submission in the subject line. (ie: “House of Suarez Ball Commission – Fantasy, Lip-Synch or Sex Siren”

The body of the email should contain: your name, address and contact information.

Please send each submission to House of Suarez co-producer, Adrian Turrell-Watts, at

Deadline for submissions is 5pm on Friday 2nd August 2019.

Terms and conditions

The judging panel will be made up of Darren Suarez and two members of the House of Suarez company.

The judges’ decisions will be final. We will not be able to provide feedback on the judging process.

Final costumes will remain the property of House of Suarez.

The House of Suarez Vogue Ball and Costume Commissions are funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England