Limerick trash to treasure: Junk Kouture contest building beauty out of the bin

Jess Casey


Jess Casey

Lilly O’Byrne, Colaiste Iosef, Kilmallock Picture: Sean Curtin

Bank of Ireland Junk Kouture 2018: Lilly O’Byrne, Colaiste Iosef, Kilmallock Picture: Sean Curtin

AN OLD wardrobe, drinking straws, crisp packets, egg cartons, bed sheets and leaves: just some of the recycled materials used by Limerick students to create original couture outfits. 

Limerick students have made it through to the regional finals of this year’s Bank of Ireland Junk Kouture competition with four stunning creations. 

Now in its eighth year, Ireland’s leading fashion and art competition for secondary schools challenges students to create unique, original and innovative outfits from recycled materials and junk.

Lilly O’Byrne, a fourth year student from Colaiste Iosef, Kilmallock, secured her place with her innovative design called Stralusion.

Hundreds of recycled straws were ironed and fused together in order to create a new material for her design. 

Emily Noonan, a student from John the Baptist Community School, Hospital, also made it through to the regional finals of this year’s competition with her creation Intrepid.

Inspired by rebelling against the pressure society sometimes puts on people to keep their passions and creativity caged, Emily used parts of an old wardrobe as well as straws and egg cartons to create her gown.

Transition year students at Colaiste Ide agus Iosef, Abbeyfeale,  were also successful in securing a place in the regional finals.  Androgynous by twins Shona and Caoimhe Hickey had as its theme Gay Pride.

Using crisp bags their colourful creation co-ordinates with the rainbow flag, and features words like pride, equality and love. 

The students designed the outfit with a futuristic look “as a message for where society should go”.

Also from the Abbeyfale school, Lady in Leaves by Grainne Flynn, Caoimhe Pegley and Shauna O’Shea, pictured below, is a design aimed at personifying the beauty of nature.

The students used natural and organic materials, including leaves, with off cuts of chicken wire, bed sheets and old fabric. 

The Junk Kouture regional finals will take place in University Concert Hall Limerick on March 9. For the full list of students through to the regional finals, visit