Making Garments out of Garbage
This year a group of students in Transition Year picked fashion as one of their block subjects. The class was taught by Ms Maguire who offered us the chance to take part in the Junk Kouture fashion competition. We were all very interested in the idea of getting involved in a fashion competition but were unsure about what it would entail. A national competition that is open to second level students in both Ireland and Northern Ireland, Junk Kouture challenges teenagers to create high-end wearable fashion from everyday junk that would normally find its way into the bin. Then the lucky finalists battle it out on the catwalk to be crowned champion and walk away with over €20000 worth in prizes. Some of the prizes include a trip to the Cannes Film Festival, a trip to a movie premiere in London or a large cash prize!
First of all, the class was divided into groups. In my group there was Eimhin Brazil, Aoife Quinn and myself. The maximum per group was three, including the model. We started off by brainstorming different fabrics, textures and looking at the way in which materials moved. Everyone completed a mood board with different ideas. Once each group had picked a theme they started to construct their outfit.
We chose to use magazines as our main material and drew sketches of what we’d like the finished result to look like. We started by making a base for our skirt using wires, hoops and paper maché. We looked through some origami books and found different ways to fold paper. We chose one method and covered the skirt in what seemed like hundreds of folded magazine covers! Our top consisted of an old pair of tan tights covered in magazine covers folded to look like windmills. We put one huge windmill on the model’s head and began working with the engineering class to get it to spin whilst on her head. Her accessories were all scoobies made from shredded magazines. At this point Eimhin came up with the name ‘Magamoiselle.’
We had a photo shoot with Ms Maguire on the 28th of January and spent the whole day there perfecting the outfit, make-up and hair. Each group had to register and upload their pictures and chosen catwalk music to the Junk Kouture website by February 8th. The groups from Our Lady’s that made it through to the semi-finals were Magamoiselle, Back to the Future, Mer-Blue, Kandy Vocation, Rainbow Twist, Ariel in Diamonds, Fuss and Feathers, and Sweets!
Back to the Future, designed by Chloe Finn and Katie Ryan was made with magazines and CD’s. Mer-Blue was a mermaid themed outfit using tea lights created by Megan Flood, Lauren Moran and Sarah Warren. Kandy Vocation, made by Cathy Browne and Elaine Ryan included the use of twisted newspaper and crisp wrappers. Rainbow Twist was made from twisted magazine pages produced by Laura Coman and Rachel Egan. Ariel in Diamonds, created by Ella Rouiller, Alice Dooley and Sarah O’Connell was made of cardboard, tin and glass bottle lids. Fuss and Feathers was made with polystyrene, foam and cardboard, by Rebecca O’Reilly, Claire Young and Ciara Brennan. Last but certainly not least, Sweets was made from sweet wrappers and coke cans by Ciara Whelan, Jessie Russell, Sinead Farrelly and Tara Brazil.
The next step involved the judges whittling the entrants down to just 80 outfits per region- north, south, east and west. Our Lady’s was in the eastern region. These chosen outfits were the semi-finalists and the students had to choreograph a performance to showcase their outfit on the catwalk in the Helix on March 11th. They had 90 seconds to impress on the catwalk and if successful, the 20 highest scoring outfits would progress to the grand finale. We got an entire day off school to travel to the Helix for the show. It was a really exciting experience and working behind the scenes of a fashion show was a lot of fun, if not a little bit stressful with many last minute adjustments being made before showtime. Despite the stress, we all got away unharmed unlike one unfortunate model who fell off the catwalk during rehearsals and broke her ribs!
Sadly, none of the girls made it through to the finals, but making it through to the semi-finals was an honour in itself, and an event we will all remember as one of the best we’ve ever been to. On behalf of everyone in my fashion class, I would like to say a huge thanks to Ms Maguire for all her guidance, support and above all her patience. I would also like to say well done to all those who took part in the competition for all the time, effort and meticulous preparation that went into the creation of the very impressive pieces produced.