Pupils encouraged to take part in ‘rubbish’ competition

CREATIVE secondary school pupils across Mid-Ulster are being encouraged to get their hands dirty and turn rubbish into ‘kouture’ in a province wide competition.

Created in 2010 by entrepreneurs Elizabeth O’Donnell and Troy Armour, the Junk Kouture competition has seen thousands of teenagers’ work submitted over the past two years, with some spectacular and awe-inspiring pieces gracing the competition’s regional and national catwalks.

Sponsored by ERP, the only pan-European compliance scheme for electronic waste and battery recycling, Junk Kouture is the leading fashion and art competition for secondary school students across Ireland and has a reputation, among many, as being the most creative.

Last year’s competition saw two highly successful entrants from students from Holy Trinity College in Cookstown.

Student Jose Varanda moulded Coke Cans into a ‘Warrior Knight’ Costume and fellow student Izabela, who created a stunning outfit made from newspapers, brown paper bags, buttons and sack cloth.

Encouraging schools and pupils to take part, Elizabeth O’Donnell, founder of Junk Kouture said: “We’re always intrigued to know just what the students will come up with at the competition’s regional heats, but we’ve been really blown away at the standard and levels of creativity as well as the cool things which these kids have done with other people’s junk.”

“I imagine 2013 will be no different so we’re really looking forward to working with schools right across Northern Ireland to bring junk back to a very fashionable life!”

“It’s really easy to enter,” she added. “And importantly in the current climate, it’s also now free too.”

“Students and teachers who are keen to take part can get in touch with us and we send the briefing pack directly to the school. “For many schools, the competition forms an integral element to the curriculum, so it’s a great way for students to learn about and appreciate recycling and re-using products while creating something beautiful and having fun.

“Students are also encouraged to plan and choreograph their own catwalk presence too, so they get an element of event management learning as well.”

Owen Lyttle from the Rethink Waste campaign in DOE said the competition was not only fun, but also emphasised the importance of reducing waste.

“I really admire the work of all of the entrants of Junk Kouture. In the most visual and effective way, they show all of us exactly how well materials destined for landfill or recycling can be used for a completely different purpose, using their creative flair,” Owen said.

“Northern Ireland needs to substantially reduce the amount of waste we send to landfill every day, taking a step and back and considering other options for the items we are about to throw in the bin is an absolutely key part of this process.

“I wish all of the applicants all the very best of luck and look forward to seeing the fruits of their labours.”

Junk Kouture Recycled Fashion Competition 2013 is open to all second level students.

The competition closes for entries on 31st January 2013. For further information, please log on to junkkouture.com or visit the Facebook page at: Facebook.com/junkkouture