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Glass act: Junk Kouture winners fashion evening gown after beachcombing the Inishowen coastline

Scintillating’ creation dazzles judges for students to lift €3,000 prize

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Overall winner of Junk Kouture 2020 by Robyn O’Donnell, Orlaith Doherty, Brónach Harkin from Carndonagh Community School, Co Donegal, it is made from sea glass, smashed jam jars and petals cut out of milk cartons. Photo: Orfhlaigh Whelan

Overall winner of Junk Kouture 2020 by Robyn O’Donnell, Orlaith Doherty, Brónach Harkin from Carndonagh Community School, Co Donegal, it is made from sea glass, smashed jam jars and petals cut out of milk cartons. Photo: Orfhlaigh Whelan

Overall winner of Junk Kouture 2020 by Robyn O’Donnell, Orlaith Doherty, Brónach Harkin from Carndonagh Community School, Co Donegal, it is made from sea glass, smashed jam jars and petals cut out of milk cartons. Photo: Orfhlaigh Whelan

Three fifth-year students from Co Donegal have been crowned the champions of Junk Kouture 2020 after learning the hard way how to transform discarded waste into a work of art.

Brónach Harkin, Robyn O’Donnell and Orlaith Doherty from Carndonagh Community School spent months scouring the coastline of the Inishowen peninsula for sea glass, which they sewed on to their stunning creation: a fishtail evening gown inspired by renowned designer Elie Saab that won the top prize.

The annual competition encourages budding designers to create fashion from discarded waste or recyclable items.

Along with collecting the sea glass which they fashioned into a sea-foam coloured bib, they spent months smashing recycled glass into tiny pieces to give the dress a dazzling shimmer while cutting out tiny petals from discarded milk cartons.

Their stunning creation, ‘Synergy’, beat off more than 80 finalists from across Ireland, netting them €1,000 in prize money and a further €2,000 for their school.

Judge Michelle Visage of RuPaul’s Drag Race fame, was clearly blown away, stating: “Synergy! You were scintillating, that was unbelievable. Honestly, I don’t know how you worked sea glass into a gown but you did it.

"And milk cartons? I’m never going to look at a milk carton in the same way. I could be wearing it instead of drinking from it. That is unbelievable babes, you deserve it all. Congratulations!”

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Ms O’Donnell said the team is delighted, especially after the difficult year in which the gown was created.

“We are shocked and so excited to have won, we can’t actually believe that this has happened after everything in the last year, there were a lot of obstacle. Thank you so much to the judges for choosing us,” she said.

"All the hours we spent on this gown have paid off. We collected sea glass on the beach, smashed old jars and bottles and cut out hundreds of petals from milk cartons. Thank you to our teacher for all her encouragement. We loved every moment of the Junk Kouture experience."



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