Joy for Junk Kouture students as five RTÉ Wildcard entries announced - Junk Kouture

Joy for Junk Kouture students as five RTÉ Wildcard entries announced

Harry Styles, Ladies’ Day and the meat industry inspire designs that nab coveted Wildcard places

Final 40 designs now revealed for Junk Kouture Grand Final 2021


Celebrations are in order for five lucky Junk Kouture contestants today as the RTÉ Wildcard entries for this year’s final are announced. On Sunday, 35 entries were selected from around the country to appear in this year’s Grand Final. For those who did not qualify, there was still hope that they would be thrown a lifeline with the five additional Wildcard places up for grabs. Junk Kouture are delighted to reveal the remaining five final spaces have now been awarded to one team from each of the five regions, as chosen by the Junk Kouture judges and RTÉ.

It was a tough call for the judging panel, made up of Louis Walsh, Michelle Visage, new judge Roz Purcell and fashion designer Stephen McLaughlin, as despite the pandemic, students pulled out all the stops with their designs and there were so many worthy designs entered this year – anyone who tuned in to the Regional Finals last week could attest to that! In the end, it was the incredible attention to detail in five designs in particular that sealed the deal for the judges.

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

  • From the South-East Region, Better Red than Dead, by Jennifer Murphy and Maisie Adamsfrom Gorey Community School, Co. Wexford. Galloping into the grand final is this design created using hundreds of rosettes which have been gathered from equestrian competitions. This is a look that would certainly turn heads on Ladies’ Day with a headpiece made using the wire framework from a discarded lampshade.


  • From the North Region, Floraison, by Niamh Diver Hall, Carndonagh Community School, Co. Donegal. This regal look is a representation of the arts community during Covid-19 and how artists and writers have had to overcome many obstacles. Made from old music sheets, butterflies in the design symbolise the emergence from cocooning, while paper flowers show growth during these difficult times.


  • South Region: Toxicity by Aaron Ganly and Gemma Liddy from Kinsale Community School, Co. Cork. Inspired by Harry Styles, the designers wanted their creation to confront toxic masculinity. They linked the themes of reckless fashion waste disposal and society rejecting people who break gender norms. The creation is all about taking a stand against these issues as well as promoting the upcycling of clothes, with the outfit made from old bed sheets and pillowcases adorned with old jewellery.


  • West Region: Faux Show by Lucy O’Brien and Ellie Flanagan from Sacred Heart Catholic School, Co. Offaly.Faux Show is all about drawing attention to the carbon footprint made by the meat industry. As leather is a by-product of this, the designers wanted to highlight that leather production has high environmental costs.  The outfit intends to give a new lease of life to second-hand faux leather, collected from friends and family members and charity shops, instead of it being disposed of and to show that you can reduce, reuse and recycle your faux leather for a fraction of the cost.


  • East Region: Draconic Defender, by Aoibhe Hegarty and Giulia Simonato fromLoreto Secondary School Balbriggan, Co. Dublin. This design was inspired by the concept of a Medieval warrior that defended fantastical creatures rather than persecuting them. Elements of the by-gone era of knights wearing armour, fiery dragons and all mythical creatures are all featured in the design, with plastic waste products manipulated by heat to culminate in this striking outfit.


Judge Louis Walsh said: “We were blown away by the talent in this year’s Junk Kouture so it was really hard to choose just five RTÉ Wildcards. Well done to everyone who entered Junk Kouture 2021 – you made our job so difficult on the judging panel! It was a tough year for everyone and you put such great effort into your incredible designs. But we had to make a decision and I think our five RTÉ Wildcards will bring something really special to the table. I am very happy with the final 40 designs and I can’t wait for the Grand Final… it’s going to be an amazing spectacle – and as I always say, who knows, we might find the next big thing in fashion!”

With even more exciting details yet to be released in relation to the Grand Final, stay up to speed with all things Junk Kouture Powered by RTÉ and Supported by Creative Ireland over on their Instagram account @junkkouture, or download the Junk Kouture app, available for both Android and iOS.