06 April 2020

It’s good news for some lucky Junk Kouture contestants today as the Wildcard entries for this year’s final are announced. Earlier last month 75 entries were selected from around the country to appear at the grand final in 3Arena. For those who did not qualify, there was still hope that they would be thrown a lifeline to represent their school with the Wildcard selection.

Junk Kouture are delighted to reveal the remaining five final spaces have been awarded to one team from each of the five regions, chosen by RTÉ 2FM DJ Tara Stewart. Known for her own vibrant style, Tara had her work cut out for her as she picked her favourite outfits from the many talented teams nationwide that just missed out on securing a place at the final during the regional selection process. The final, although postponed for now, will still take place in 3Arena this autumn, celebrating 10 years of Junk Kouture, powered by RTÉ.

Without further ado, the five lucky Wildcard designs that will now go on to compete at the event later this year are:

  • From the Northern Region, Olann Álainn by Aoife Brogan of Deele College, Raphoe, Co Donegal;
  • Eastern Region, Once Upon A Culture by Anastazija Stojakovic, Alex Sirbu, Mansi Neerputh of Larkin Community College, Dublin 1;
  • South Eastern Region, The Butterfly Effect by Lexie Carty, Nadine Kehoe, Aoife Moorehouse of Coláiste Bríde, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford;
  • Western Region, Bee Gold by Moya Ibbotson, Katie Flynn, Moya Guinan of Gallen Community School, Ferbane, Co Offaly;
  • Southern Region, Arcoiris by Lauraine Canty, Sophie Pyke, Rachel Lambe of Presentation Secondary School, Clonmel, Co Tipperary.

RTÉ 2FM DJ Tara Stewart said: “The standard of designs from students was through the roof. It was a difficult decision to make as there were so many worthy winners with so much creativity and colour incorporated into the designs. I have picked Wildcard outfits that I think will definitely stand out on stage at the final in 3Arena this autumn. I was impressed by the brilliant stories and even political messages behind the designs. Important topics ranging from global warming and Pride to arranged marriages were touched on by students – I think it is safe to say that the kids are alright! I can’t wait to see everyone strut their stuff later this year. Best of luck!”

Junk Kouture spokesperson and CEO Troy Armour added: “We are thrilled that we have now chosen our 80 grand finalists for the 10th year of Junk Kouture. We would like to urge anyone who missed out this time not to be too downhearted as the standard in this year’s contest was so high. Congratulations to all our Wildcard winners and thank you to Tara for choosing so excellently. We will see you all in autumn!”

Further information on the Wildcard designs:

Northern Region, Olann Álainn: This is Aoife Brogan’s first time taking on a Junk Kouture project but she is the third sister in a house of Junk Kouture enthusiasts, having already created seven dresses between them and reaching the Grand Final on multiple occasions. The legacy continues, as Aoife is selected as the 2020 Northern Region Wild Card.

Having carried out a work placement for TY in a craft shop specialising in wool and yarn, the Donegal student was able to collect off-cuts and trimmings from various projects destined for the bin and create a modern-take on a classic ballgown dress which features leggings underneath a full skirt. An interesting use for knitting needles can be seen in her headpiece, complementing the overall theme of the design.

Eastern Region, Once Upon A Culture: This thought-provoking design from Anastazija Stojakovic, Alex Sirbu and Mansi Neerputh in Larkin Community College, Dublin 1 is based around the theme of arranged marriages. In some cultures, today, arranged marriages still take place. The design by this team of students highlights a woman’s plight in society as she is forced to marry because of her culture or her family. The woman wants to be herself but ultimately is trapped by her culture and must accept her fate. The team were inspired by the beautiful body designs of henna and lace worn in the Indian culture, upcycling old lace. They used cheese puffs and the packaging to create a ruffled skirt to the dress.

South Eastern Region, The Butterfly Effect: This vivid orange and black butterfly-themed design from Lexie Carty, Nadine Kehoe and Aoife Moorehouse of Coláiste Bríde, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford is predominantly made of 300 respiratory tubes. Butterflies are associated with hope resurrection and remembrance and this fitted the idea to design a dress using respiratory tubes. The butterfly wings for the top and bottom of the dress were hand crafted from chicken wire by the team. They then cut, rolled and sewed corrugated respiratory tubing from a pharmaceutical company to slot into each individual section of the wire.

Western Region, Bee Gold: This design by Moya Ibbotson, Katie Flynn and Moya Guinan of Gallen Community School, Ferbane, Co Offaly raises awareness about the importance of honeybees, as they are an integral part of our environment. The midlands are surrounded by natural landscapes, such as the bog. As climate change is so topical right now, the team felt that creating this dress would give them an opportunity to promote sustainability and protection of natural environments, inspiring their honeybee theme. Election posters and old jeans were used to create this regal masterpiece which has been chosen as the 2020 Western Region Wildcard.

Southern Region, Arcoiris: The 2020 Southern Region Wildcard from Presentation Secondary School, Clonmel, Co Tipperary is loud and proud – just like everyone should be about who they love and who they are! Using over 500 Pringle cans, Lauraine Canty, Sophie Pyke and Rachel Lambe hand cut and shaped each piece to make a variety of dynamic designs to create their colourful outfit called Arcoiris, which is Spanish for ‘rainbow’.  Taking inspiration and vision from Ru Paul’s Dragrace and iconic popstar Lady Gaga to make the design, the team’s design celebrates the LGBT+ community and promotes a message of positivity and pride.

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