No less than twelve stunning outfits created by Laois students have been selected for the eastern Regional Final of the Bank of Ireland Junk Kouture 2018 competition, the highest figure in the competition since it started eight years ago.
Junk Kouture encourages secondary school students to create couture outfits from recycled materials, stimulating their design skills while raising environmental awareness, with big prizes for the winners.
Up to last Friday, 11 Laois entries had secured a place in the Regional final in the Helix on March 5.
However a 12th 'Lifeline' place in the region was won by Mountrath Community School's 'Frida Colour', in an exciting online voting frenzy.
The outfit is made out of old paint swatches by students Liam Cleary, Erin Byrne and Alicia Byrne.
Pipped at the post was another Laois entry, 'Curtain Call', an elegant dress made from old curtain materials by Mountmellick CS students Ava Rowney and Suzie Manzya.
Six of the Eastern Regional finalists are from Scoil Chríost Rí in Portlaoise who have a strong history of making it to the final of the competition. They had entered 18 outfits this year, from TY and LCA students.
'Brewed Awakenings' is hand made from old net curtain, coffee beans and a feather pillow, by Sinead Ní Quinn (Model), Julia Cahill and Rebecca Finlay.
'Colour Bomb' is handmade from bedsheets and wool given by local schools, that was knitted, woven, plaited, twisted, crocheted and sewn, by Tammy Wright (Model) and Tirna Byrne.
'Feathered Formation' is hand made from recycled pink exam papers, pink paper, hand dyed turkey feathers, cork and pearls, created by Ciara Ennis (Model), Lisa Buggy and Elisha Buggie.
'Intertwined' is made from recycled egg shells, coffee beans, wool & twine, created by Jodie-Rose Collins (Model), Kate Corrigan and Kalindi Owens.
'Milkin' It' is made out of recycled Farmers Milk Filter Socks that were hand dyed and sewn together, by Niamh Crowley (Model), Aisling Ahern and Ciara Mc Evoy.
'Shades of Denim' is made from recycled denim jeans, jackets, pockets and shirts, all hand sewn. It is created by Chloe Grant (Model), Aisling Dunne and Stephanie McGovern.
“I am so proud of all my TY & LCA Junk Kouture students who participated in this creative and adventurous project. The hours spent working on their creations has shown dedication, commitment and superb initiative. For six teams to have made it to the regional final is a fantastic achievement for the girls and our school.” said Scoil Chríost Rí art teacher Jayne Kelly.
Enthusiasm for Junk Kouture continues to grow among other Laois schools.
St Fergal's College Rathdowney entered an outfit for the first time this year, and got a surprise visit by Bank of Ireland last Tuesday with a 'Silver Ticket' making them first in Laois this year to secure a place at the regionals.
Students Rachel Barton, Kate Herke and Ava Meagher (also model) created their metamorphosis inspired 'Emergence' from recycled metal and sellotape, adding a train made of photos of themselves growing from babies to young women.
“We are very excited about getting through to the regional finals and couldn’t have done it without the help of our art teacher Ms Kennedy and the Transition Year girls,” the team said.
In Mountmellick the outfit 'Tae Partae' won a place out of six entries submitted this year.
TYs Elana Lee, Shannon Comerford and Melissa Klepa (model) were inspired by the mad hatters tea party, using tea bags, tea boxes, sugar, a table cloth, amd a china tea set in their outfit.
“The students have been working on their outfits for months. We are so proud of all six teams who took part this year , the whole school will be following Tae Partae's progress” said art teacher Maryse Lennon.
Mountrath Community School's finalist is called Camera Shy', made from old photo negatives and film reel. It is created by Ellen Bergin, Aoife Dunne and Aisling Mulhall to represent social awareness on the internet.
Heywood College TY student Leah Moffitt won a place with 'Exam Blues', a paper dress and hat made out of old Junior Cert and Leaving Cert exam revision notes.
“I would like my design to remind students that exam stress only lasts for a while but caring for your mental health, promoting positive well-being and enjoying the simple things in life will stand to you forever,” she said.
'Kami Hanakotoba' is created by Portlaoise College students, twin sisters Sinti (model), and Sindi Veronkova, who are in TY and 5th year respectively, as well as classmate Akira Okonkwo.
It is made from old CDs and art history textbooks made into origami flowers, as the school now uses Ebooks.
“I am very proud of my students, they have been diligently and independently creating their goddess inspired design since November. It is a great achievement for them, their family and Portlaoise College,” said art teacher Karen O'Grady.
All twelve Laois finalists will take to the stage as part of 79 Eastern Regional finalists in the Helix in Dublin on March 5. In all, 1533 entries were submitted to Bank of Ireland Junk Kouture 2018 from schools across Ireland.
Each Laois entry is looking for daily online votes all this week, from February 19 to 23.
The votes are worth up to 10 percent of the overall judges marks.
Voters must register on the free Junk Kouture App. Vote here.
The national final of Junk Kouture will take place in the 3Arena on April 19, a glittering music and fashion event with famous judges and prizes to help kickstart budding fashion careers.