Wild card success for St Joe’s Junk Kouture pupils

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Year nine pupils at St Joseph’s Boys’ School were given the surprise of their lives when they were selected as the judge’s Wild Card candidates for the Bank of Ireland Junk Kouture finals.

The pupils who have been busy creating their own unique fashion designs from recyclable waste as part of the innovative recycled fashion competition are now set to travel to Dublin to participate in the All Ireland finals on April 14.

The school’s participation in the competition was facilitated by Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Business Opportunities section, as part of their Fashion Fest schools programme.

Louise Breslin, Business Opportunities Manager said: “It has given the students the opportunity to explore their creative side and to work alongside designers, textile producers and artists working in the fashion industry.

“We are delighted at their success and it’s so well deserved as they have put so much effort into their design. We are thrilled they have made it to the finals and wish them all the luck in the world for April 14.”

She explained that through the Fashion Fest schools programme Council assigned facilitators from the North West Regional College, the Ulster University, 4R’s Recycling Centre, Fablab and Seliena Coyle, the Fashion and Design Hub and the Eden Arts Centre to work directly with St Joe’s pupils to come up with a series of concepts for the competition and to take them through the various steps of the process to create a number of creations for the Junk Kouture competition. She added that Seagate also provided the school with some of the recyclable material for their designs.

Paddy McCourt is the teacher leading the project at St. Joe’s, he says his students are totally overwhelmed at their success and really proud of their achievements. He says while some students were initially dubious about being part of the project, excitement and interest increased as the project progressed.

“This is a great project for the boys to be involved in. The boys loved every minute of it. Not only did it allow them to showcase their artistic and creative side but it has really helped develop their social skills and given them confidence in themselves.

“It has also helped reinforce the importance of recycling and reusing waste items and created a greater awareness of recycling in the school.

“The boys are over the moon that they have been chosen as the judges’ wild card finalists. When they didn’t make it through at the regional finals in the Millennium Forum they were really disappointed and downbeat.

“They had put so much work into their entry it was so disappointing not to get through. We got the surprise of our lives on Monday morning when a film crew turned up at the school and Lorna, one of the judges, announced we were her wild card choice – everyone was so elated.

“The response from the pupils, teachers and parents has been phenomenal. Everyone is so delighted for us and we are all looking forward to the final.”

The boys are busy now making some minor adjustments to the costume.

“It’s made of cardboard so it’s a bit worse for wear at the minute after the regional finals, so we need to do some repair work and jazz it up a bit for the show in the 3Arena. Maybe add a few sparkles and a bits of glitter to take it to the next level,” he joked.

Junk Kouture is a national competition for second level students, which challenges teenagers to create high-end wearable fashion from everyday junk that would normally find its way into the bin. Junk Kouture aims to inspire and ignite passion in the teenagers while at the same time subtly educating them about the importance of recycling and reusing waste. Over the last four years, Junk Kouture has established itself as the premier recycled fashion competition for teenagers throughout Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The Northern regional final of the Junk Kouture competition was held recently in Derry’s Millennium Forum and the All Ireland final is taking place in Dublin on April 14.