Eco-conscious students congregated in Abu Dhabi to take part in the Junk Kouture Global Finals where stunning fashion creations made from discarded items were on show.
Eighteen year old Joshua Osabuehien and Solomon Eduard, age17, from Cnoc Mhuire Secondary School in Longford, Ireland, made history by winning the debut edition of the Junk Kouture World Final.
Their creation – entitled Back to the Future and resembling a futuristic suit of armour – was elaborately constructed from wire tubing, foam packaging, and scrap sheets of aluminium from a builder’s yard, along with an old shin guard, laundry baskets, cable ties and fish wire.
The winners stated: ‘The planet is on the brink. The risk is real. If we continue to consume and power our lives the way we do now then our forests, oceans and weather systems will collapse. We need to go back in time and live sustainably and reconnect with our planet in order to have a future.
‘If not then it is survival of the fittest for the food we eat, the water we drink and the very air we breathe.’
Junk Kouture is a youth challenge that promotes the importance of sustainability and educates about the issues surrounding climate change by tasking young people to put together outfits out of materials that are normally thrown away.
It has six city winners, all of whom go to the final, where other notable designs are also recognised.
Held at Etihad Arena, Abu Dhabi, the World Final attracted entries from the Abu Dhbai, Paris, Milan, London, Dublin and New York.
Junk Kouture Global Final Winners
Winners of Abu Dhabi City Designer of the Year were The Desert Bloom team consisting of Angel Koshy, Vatsala Jain, Aum Sachin Tere and Divyam Varma; JSS Private School, Dubai.
The Glamour Award was presented to Team Madame Mystique from Dubai American Academy while The Dare to Wear Award was awarded to Team Spiralism from British School Al Khubairat, Abu Dhabi.
‘Best Makeup Award’ powered by CTZN Cosmetics was awarded to Proserpina from GEMS Modern Academy, Dubai
Dedicated to encouraging creativity, self-expression and spreading environmental awareness, the event called on young people to create fashion designs out of 100 per cent recycled materials.
Contestants responded by using items as varied as plastic wrappers, a mannequin bust, ATM receipts, living moss and even an old trampoline.
CEO and founder of Junk Kouture, Troy Armour, said: ‘The first-ever edition of the Junk Kouture World Final was an outstanding demonstration of creativity, skill, talent and environmental awareness.
‘Watching all our finalists grow and develop into more confident, skilful, and bold creators has been incredible, and I feel sure that many of the world’s future fashion designers and sustainability leaders were up on stage at Etihad Arena last night.
‘Tackling climate change and promoting sustainable practices has never been more important, and our team is now looking forward to reaching and empowering more young people through Junk Kouture 2023.’
The judging panel consisted of Fabio Piras, Head of Fashion, Central St Martins, London; Lise Pierron, French fashion model and influencer; Mehreen Baig, UK broadcaster and author; and technical judge Dr Tracy Fahey, Head of Fine Art and Education, Limerick School of Art and Design, Ireland.
Amina Taher, VP of Brand, Marketing and Sponsorship at event backers Etihad Airways, said: ‘We are proud to support the next generation who will have an impact on the world’s sustainability journey for tomorrow.’
And Hosein Moghaddas, Consumer & Retail Leader at another corporate supporter, Deloitte Middle East, added: ‘Consumers, fashion brands and retailers are feeling more responsibility than ever before towards the environment.’
The event was presented by author and Virgin Radio presenter Maz Hakim and Irish film maker Sean Treacy.
Alongside the competition, the final featured performances from DJ Michelle, the youngest professional female DJ in the world, and Next In Line, an Irish boyband formed by Louis Walsh, the man behind Westlife, Boyzone and Girls Aloud.
The Six City winners:
• Abu Dhabi City Designer of the Year: The Desert Bloom team of Angel Koshy, Vatsala Jain, Aum Sachin Tere and Divyam Varma; JSS Private School, Dubai.
• Paris City Designer of the Year: Marie en Jean team of Nada Kharraki and Emilien Poulai from Lycée Ferdinand Buisson, Paris.
• Milan City Designer of the Year: Destroyed Fairy team of Hiba Essafri, Matilda Xhaferraj and Ramatoulaye Badji from IIS A. Checchi in Fucecchio, Milan.
• New York City Designer of the Year: Tree of Life team by Ísis de Farias Madeira from The High School of Fashion Industries, New York.
• Dublin City Designer of the Year and World Designer of the Year: Back to the Future consisting of Joshua Osabuehien, Solomon Eduard from Cnoc Mhuire Secondary School; Longford, Dublin.
• London City Designer of the Year: Jump for Joy by Orla Ni Eadhra from Inverness Royal Academy, Scotland.
Other award winners:
• The Purposeful Plastic Award was presented to Team La Catrina from International School of Béarn, Paris/
• The Junior Award went to Tree of Life team consisting of Adalyn Rae Fortenberry and Valentino CrisTorre from H Farm International School, Milan.
• The Innovation Award was given to Team Bohemian Pampas Tree from Wilson’s Hospital School, Westmeath, Ireland.
• The Cultural Couture Award went to Team Acantha from Ursuline Secondary School, Thurles, Ireland.
• The Glamour Award was presented to Team Madame Mystique from Dubai American Academy.
• The Dare to Wear Award was made to Team Spiralism from British School Al Khubairat, Abu Dhabi .
• The Wearable Art Award was presented to Team I Care from Lycée Professionnel Édouard Herriot, Paris consisting of Laure Claustres, Valentin Ruffat, Jérome Mahe and Viktor Edwige.
• The Makeup Award was made to Team Proserpina from GEMS Modern Academy by Sahana Vinoth and Avani Bhate.
• The Best Performance Award was presented to Soaring High from Denmark Road High School, London created by Grace Bowden Dominica Kodeesawaran and Annabelle Blackwell.
To enter Junk Kouture 2023, teachers of creative students aged 13 to 18 should go to the Junk Kouture website www.junkkouture.com for more information.