Limerick students display mix of emotions with Junk Kouture dress

Aine Fitzgerald


Aine Fitzgerald

Eimear Doody of John the Baptist Community School modelling the outfit Re-Silience
A DRESS inspired by mental health and the delicacy of one’s mind has qualified for the southern regional final of the recycling fashion contest, Junk Kouture.

A DRESS inspired by mental health and the delicacy of one’s mind has qualified for the southern regional final of the recycling fashion contest, Junk Kouture.

Transition year students of John the Baptist Community School in Hospital will compete at the competition - which takes place in the University Concert Hall in Limerick on March 14 - with their design, Re-Silience.

“The pattern on the dress is about feeling trapped within and not being able to get out,” explained Caoimh Ryan, art teacher at John the Baptist Community School.

“The headpiece is based on the caged idea - that feeling of being trapped again”.

Their aim with the creation is to get young people to speak up or speak out about their problems.

Re-Silience was created by Anne-Marie Flynn, Eimear Doody and Niamh Larkin under the guidance of Caoimh Ryan and fellow art teacher Suzanne Mortell.

Hundreds of balloons form the basis of the show-stopping creation.

The students have been working on the project since last September.

“It took hours and hours of sewing - they were blue in the face from it by the time they were finished,” Ms Ryan said.

While the students brainstormed a number of different themes, they felt the subject of mental health was most relevant.

“They looked for materials which would suit their idea - they came up with balloons based on the idea of feeling inflated and deflated. Once they were happy with their theme, they started looking at a selection of colours and the trail of emotion through colour.”

The balloons were manipulated to suit the theme of mental health.

“We demonstrated this by creating a maze pattern on our dress to signify being trapped within one’s thoughts versus our expressive, vibrant top emulating the feathers of a bird and the freedom that comes with speaking out,” added Ms Ryan.

“Our colour scheme represents the mix of emotions - bright and uplifting down to the darker and more sullen tones. We used the head piece to symbolise the delicacy of one’s mind and being trapped within your own thoughts,” continued Ms Ryan who gave a special word of thanks to DJ Daly for his contribution to the project.

Junk Kouture is a national competition for second level students in Ireland and Northern Ireland which challenges teenagers to create high-end wearable fashion from everyday junk that would normally find its way into the bin.

Junk Kouture aims to inspire and ignite passion in these teenagers while at the same time subtly educating them about the importance of recycling and reusing waste for the good of the planet.

There is an online vote which is up and running until midnight Friday, February 28 exclusively on the ERP Ireland’s Facebook Page (

Last year, the grand final was attended by over 2,000 spectators in the Bord Gais Energy Theatre and saw students of Colaiste Iosaef in Kilmallock walk away with the top prize of €2,500 for their school, €1000 worth of IT equipment, €500 cash and a trip to the Cannes Film Festival, thanks to their creation, Ultra Violet Wash.