Overall Junk Kouture Winner 2019

Designed and Modelled by: Maxim O’Sullivan, Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne

Teacher: Brenda Friel

I originally heard of Junk Kouture in first year at Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne, Dingle, seeing posters of the outfits around the school. I thought the designs were incredible and instantly knew I wanted to take part! I entered in 2018 with two girls from my class in 4th year, and we got a Silver Ticket and had a great time at the Regional Finals, though unfortunately we didn’t make it to the Grand Final. I was so disappointed I instantly started brainstorming ideas on the journey home!

I chose to make an outfit based on my family’s cinema in Dingle, incorporating defunct film materials to tell the story of the history of the building and cinema as a whole. I crocheted, loom-knitted, sewed and quilled abandoned reels of old film trailers, video tape and DVDs, among other materials, to create my vision. I worked on the outfit at every available opportunity, especially during the summer holidays and 5th year — a real balancing act! I got the help of my art teachers, Jane Murphy and Brenda Friel, along with my family and the wider community. I am so thankful for all their support.

I was so happy to have reached the Regionals again in 2019, and prepared endlessly, putting together my performance and canvassing for votes. The big day arrived, and I had a blast! I spoke to everyone I could and had the best time! The high point was being announced as a Grand Finalist.

The Grand Final was the best day of my life, and it flew by, between rehearsals, pizza, makeup and chats. The standard of work was unbelievable, with masterpieces all around me.  I nervously waited backstage with butterflies in my stomach for my performance and am so glad I couldn’t see the thousands of people through my headpiece as I would have freaked out! Also, I couldn’t believe I was appearing on the same stage as so many stars.

I was one of the last to perform, and we all lined up backstage after the show, and did a parade through the audience – it was magical with amazing music and lights! I saw my family, friends and teachers that had come to support me, and it gave me hope and filled me with emotion.

I wasn’t called out from the lines behind stage at first, but then I was grabbed and brought to the stage entrance and could hardly believe it! I won the LSAD bursary and wasn’t expecting anything else but was told to come back to the entrance of the stage ASAP. I was put in a line and was in such shock about the bursary that I asked everyone what was happening, but they just said, ‘You Know!’ I didn’t though! I was announced as the Southern Regional Winner and stood in line with the other Regional Winners on stage. When ‘Cinematic’ was called as the 2019 Junk Kouture Overall Winner, I instantly froze and burst out with emotion and shock. All my dreams and hard work had paid off!

It took me a month to fully realise what had happened to me, but 2 weeks later, we went with Troy, Megan, and the Junk Kouture team and the other Regional Winners to the Cannes Film Festival on a marvellous trip, with wonderful experiences in Nice, Cannes and Monaco. I also got the chance to attend the Royal Film Premiere in London of ‘1917’, and to walk the red carpet, an unbelievable opportunity and an amazing trip!

Thanks to participating in Junk Kouture, I realised I want to go into the Fashion Industry and hope to go to art college after secondary school. I’ve learnt so much from this experience and discovered so much about myself, meeting many new friends along the way. My message to anyone involved tonight is to be proud of yourself – you have come so far and are already a winner just by being here. It’s a night you’ll always remember, so enjoy every second!

Good Luck!