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05th Feb 2021

Donegal students win Junk Kouture with dress made from sea glass, milk cartons, and jam jars

Donegal students win Junk Kouture with dress made from sea glass, milk cartons, and jam jars

Jade Hayden

A massive congratulations to them.

A group of students from Donegal have picked up the top prize in 2020’s Junk Kouture competition.

Brónach Harkin, Robyn O’Donnell and Orlaith Doherty emerged victorious this week as their gown, ‘Synergy’, made from sea glass, plastic milk cartons and smashed jam jars wowed the judges in the highly competitive competition.

Over 80 finalists were involved in this week’s televised Junk Kouture final, hoping to be crowned the winners of the recycled fashion contest.

Inspired by Elie Saab, the winning fish tail gown was created by the Carndonagh Community School students, who spent months collecting sea glass to sew onto the dress, creating glass panelling, and smashing recycled glass from jam jars to sprinkle on top of the creation.

Each petal on the dress was also cut from recycled plastic milk cartons, truly showing the synergy of the piece.

Synergy team member Robyn said the team were both “shocked and excited” to have won.

“We can’t actually believe that this has happened after everything in the last year, there were a lot of obstacles along the way!” she said. 

“Thank you so much to the judges for choosing us. 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 and are so glad that the final got to go ahead.”

Judge Michelle Visage of RuPaul’s Drag Race and Ireland’s Got Talent fame said: “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!”

Louis Walsh, who was also there, added: “Synergy, that was so different, so original, so authentic and it’s made from glass. Obviously, an awful lot of work went into it and it shows. It’s just absolutely beautiful and a great, great winner – well done Synergy.”

Applications for 2021’s competition are now open for students in the UK and Ireland until April 19.