Thursday, May 30, 2024

See the Carlow Junk Kouture designs combining fashion with education

Must read

Students from Tullow Community School, Coláiste Eoin Hacketstown and Borris Vocational School will represent Carlow at the Junk Kouture Regional Finals

TY students from Tullow Community School, Coláiste Eoin Hacketstown and Borris Vocational School will take to the Helix Stage in Dublin on March 5 to showcase their exquisite designs and compete against some of the best young designers in the country.

Junk Kouture is a fashion competition for post-primary school students, where participants design, create and model fashion made from recycled materials.

Finalists from across Ireland will showcase their designs at two regional finals on March 4 and 5 at the Helix in Dublin.

Tullow Community School

Students Jona Arul Easter Raj and Romane Rousselot will represent Tullow Community School with their design, ‘Divine Menstruation’.

This outfit combines and celebrates both the Indian and Irish cultures and includes an educational element as well.

Designer and model Jona is originally from India, but has been living in Ireland for the last three and a half years. Her idea behind the design is to raise awareness about menstruation, which is treated as a taboo topic in India. Jona explained that the dress will empower and inspire women to be proud of their periods as it is not something to be embarrassed about.

“I chose this idea because in India, menstruation is taboo, it is not a topic that is well spoken about. Women who are on their periods are restricted from going anywhere, they don’t allow them to talk about their periods and the pain, the mood swings or anything to do with periods because it is seen as embarrassing and unclean and messy.

Jona Arul Easter Raj modelling the design ‘Divine Menstruation’

“We can’t even talk about periods with our fathers or in front of any men in India. It is a taboo in India so I want to raise awareness about it because period’s are part of being a woman, that’s what makes us women. I want to talk about it and make women feel proud of their period and embrace their period as a good thing and not embarrassing.

Jona added: “The dress takes inspiration from the Indian menstrual Goddess called Kamakhya. This Goddess represents periods but she’s not a well known Goddess in India and she’s not well appreciated.”

On the day of the regional finals, all the designs will be modelled on the Helix stage in front of a packed audience. For Jona’s performance she has prepared a routine that showcases the outfit’s Indian inspiration while also paying tribute to her new home, Ireland.

“I have been doing Indian dancing for eight years now and when I moved to Ireland I started learning Irish dancing. My performance will combine steps from both Indian dancing and Irish dancing.

“Ireland is more free and liberated and allows women to talk about their periods so I wanted to combine Indian dance and Irish dance to show the freedom that Ireland gives women in terms of their period and menstruation,” concluded Jona.

The outfit was created by Jona Arul Easter Raj and Romane Rousselot

Fellow student, Romane Rousselot also helped design and make the outfit. She explained that the outfit was created with with a number of recycled items from old shoes to menstrual cycle products.

“The outfit is made from old shoes and boots that we disassembled, old Indian fabrics that were no longer being used from Jona’s home such as an old table cloth and damaged fabrics and also accessories that we already had such as old, broken jewelry. We also used the packaging from old menstrual cycle products such as the plastic surrounds around panty liners and pads,” described Romane.

“I also did some research and found that there is a huge amount of waste that goes into the oceans around the planet all from menstrual cycle products. I found some very interesting statistics that shows how bad the situation is and these statistics also influenced our design and why we wanted to use the plastic from menstrual cycle products rather than just throwing them out and it ending up in the ocean.”

Coláiste Eoin Hacketstown

Designed by Casey Cullen and Lillian Swift and modelled by Megan Weekes, ‘Natures Fairytale’ will be the next Carlow design to take to the Helix stage at the regional finals.

The three Coláiste Eoin Hacketstown students have dedicated many long hours to perfect their design which is both beautiful and educational.

“The design was inspired by nature. We wanted to bring together fairy tales and nature so we took a lot of inspiration from a Japanese fairy tale called the Peony Princes. This fairy tale is about a young girl who almost falls into a lake but she is saved by a samurai covered in her favourite flowers which are peonies,” explained designer Lillian.

“We wanted to create her fairy tale wedding dress but we also wanted to talk about nature in the sense that trees are cut down and are turned into paper which are turned into books but the books are being almost married back into nature through the wedding dress with the flowers we made out of recycled paper that we placed on the dress.”

Megan Weekes modelling the design ‘Natures Fairytale’

Lillian added: “ The dress is made out of loads of old books pages, some old books from the school that weren’t in use anymore and books from my attic. We also used curtain linings for the under skirt and plastic wrap to keep the skirt in form. All of the materials have been recycled.

“All three of us are extremely interested in protecting the environment. One of the main inspirations behind using the books was that it is such a pity that they are just left lying around and it’s such a waste of the paper so we wanted to use something old, that was no longer being used and give it a new life.”

The dress is made out of pages from old books that were no longer being used

Works on the design started back in September and model, Megan Weekes said she can’t wait to show off the outfit at the regional finals.

“I’m really excited. I’m so glad that I’m getting this experience. I can’t wait showcase what we have made especially because we have put so much time into it and we’re really proud of it. Once I have the performance done I think it will give me a really big confidence boost.

“I have done lots of practice with the dress on especially to make sure I have the timings right for the performance with the music. We chose the song ‘Young and Beautiful’ by Lana Del Ray for the performance because we thought it really symbolised the story of the Peony Princess as she is young and beautiful and getting married in her favourite dress with her favourite flowers.”

Model Megan Weekes and designers Casey Cullen and Lillian Swift

Designer Casey Cullen already had an interest and a talent for art before getting involved with Junk Kouture. She said she is so proud of the design that the team came up with.

“I think we are just so proud to be able to show our work after spending so much time on it. This is the first time that our school has gotten through to the regional finals so we are just extra proud of ourselves and the design because it is a big achievement.”

Casey added: “Doing Junk Kouture has given me more of an interest in fashion. I have always liked art and fashion and I did my ten week work experience in the Visual which is an art and gallery space in Carlow Town. My experience in TY with taking part in Junk Kouture and the work experience in the Visual has really helped me find my passion for art and fashion.”

Borris Vocational School

Borris Vocational School students Chloe O’Connell and Rachel Martin will also be competing at the Helix with their innovative design ‘Party Twister’.

This two piece outfit breathes new life into old party decorations and saved them from being thrown in the bin where they would eventually end up in a landfill site.

Both Chloe and Rachel worked together to design and make ‘Party Twister’.

The outfit was created by Rachel Martin and Chloe O’Connell

“The idea of the design was to celebrate milestones and honouring life achievements. When we were coming up with the idea for the design we went home and looked around our houses to see what was lying around not being used. Both our houses had recently celebrated milestones so we both realised how party decorations are bought and then are just left there or thrown out after they are used,” explained Chloe.

“We had the idea then to reuse and repurpose the party decorations to make our outfit for Junk Kouture. We also used toilet roll to show how that can also be repurposed to make something else.”

Rachel Martin modelling the outfit ‘Party Twister’

Chloe added: “We both have an interest in helping the environment so we thought it was a good idea to reuse the party decorations rather than the decorations being thrown away after one use.”

The finished product resulted in a two piece outfit with a corset top and skirt adorned with old party decorations and toilet roll.

Rachel will be modelling the outfit on the day of the competition and explained they had picked the perfect song for the performance.

“We are a little nervous but also super excited for the regional final,” enthused Rachel. “I have been practicing the routine loads and the song we chose for me to perform to is ‘Birthday’ by Katy Perry.”

Old party decorations and toilet rolls were used to make the outfit

Just like all the other contestants taking part in Junk Kouture, Chloe and Rachel have invested a lot of their free time into designing and creating the outfit.

“Junk Kouture is extracurricular in our school, we don’t actually have a module for Junk Kouture like a lot of other schools have so we gave up our lunchtimes and time after school to create this outfit. We have put a lot of time and effort into this and we are so proud we have been chosen to go forward to the regional final,” concluded Rachel.

Latest article