by Martina Brodie and Ricky Franklin

Students from Moate Community School in Ireland took home the Junk Kouture World Designer of the 2023 title at the Junk Kouture World Final in sold-out Monaco’s Salle des Princes at the Grimaldi Forum on February 22. The team’s creation, named #TagMe and crafted by Eva Donlon from Tubber, Méabh O’Shea from Mount Temple, and Evie Nugent from Ballymore, emerged victorious. 

Under the guidance of teacher Pamela Keogh, their design outshone sixty finalists from cities worldwide, including Dublin, Paris, London, New York, Abu Dhabi, and Milan. Taking inspiration from the renowned designer Missoni, the winning ensemble was ingeniously crafted from  seven bags weighing 10kg of un-recyclable tags – plastic colour testers sourced from Delta Q, a prominent plastics manufacturer based in Athlone, Ireland. 

“All of the contestants were the winners,” said one of the judges, content creator and model Lise Pierron “and their victory  underscores the power of ingenuity and resourcefulness in addressing environmental challenges while leaving a mark on the global stage of fashion and design.”

Altogether 17 awards were given to young contestants from around the globe. Material used for their designs ranged from pencil shavings to pistachio shells, plastic bags, bottles, discarded  aeroplane parts and wishing ribbons! 

A total of 283 wishes made by the children of Wadhurst Primary School in Kent. Each child wrote their wish on a piece of ribbon, which was then tied onto the huge village Christmas tree. The wishes were going into a landfill, so the team from Bethany School, Kent, UK rescued them and created the Wishing on a Ribbon dress designed by Livi Dawson and Clementine Dawson, the youngest team participating, only 13 years old. Junior Designer of the Year Award powered by TEC.

From Coastline to Waistline by Lily Gear, Vega Beroud and Luisa Dietel of International School of Nice, France. Designed from soda can tabs, bottle caps collected on a beach cleanup, old laundry baskets, donated magazines no longer in use, cardboard boxes from school renovation, old fishing rope and string from collaboration with Nice Yacht Club and sea shells. Performance Award powered by KATE POWERS FOUNDATION.

End Of An Era is a captivating fusion of style and sustainability, crafted from the very material that poses a threat to our oceans – plastic milk bottle caps. Made with over 1,500 milk bottle caps this design is adorned with three lines of clear bottle caps, symbolizing the ‘new era’ of milk bottle caps, as most brands have discontinued green tops to make them more accessible to recycling. The sound it creates when worn – a gentle echo reminiscent of water, a poignant reminder of the creatures we harm in our oceans due to our relentless use of plastic. Designed by Hannah Pugh, Chiedza Makuto and Carys Clutterbuck of Marling School, Gloucestershire, UK. Purposeful Plastic Award powered by TWW YACTS.