On January 11, 18-year old Joshua Osabuehien and 17-year old Solomon Eduard from Cnoc Mhuire Secondary School in Longford, Ireland made history by winning the debut edition of the Junk Kouture World Final and being crowned the first-ever World Sustainable Designer of the Year.
The glittering event held at Etihad Arena, Abu Dhabi, saw 6 incredible designs reign supreme over 53 other head-turning recycled couture pieces, all conceived, crafted and modelled by eco-conscious student teams from the UAE, France, Italy, Ireland, the UK and USA.
Back to the Future wowed the entire arena with its craftsmanship, imagination and skills, making it worthy of being awarded the overall winner. Inspired by the themes of sustainable living and reconnecting with the planet, Joshua Osabuehien and Solomon Eduard’s creation was intricately constructed from an incredible mix of wire tubing, foam packaging, and scrap sheets of aluminum from a builder’s yard, an old shin guard, cable ties and fish wire. The design is a futuristic coat of armor.
Dedicated to encouraging creativity, self-expression and spreading environmental awareness, this was the first time that the trailblazing sustainable fashion design competition had ever been held on a global stage.
Tasking young students with creating showstopping fashion designs out of 100% recycled materials, the audience watched in amazement as the teams showcased incredible outfits made from old and unwanted items as varied as plastic sanitary wrappers, a mannequin bust, ATM receipts, living moss and even an old trampoline.
Proving that even items dismissed as ‘junk’ can be reimagined into something beautiful and precious, sheer talent and inspiring creativity was displayed in abundance.
Presented by author and Virgin Radio presenter Maz Hakim and young Irish film maker Sean Treacy, the event awarded the six City Designers of the Year for Abu Dhabi, Dublin, New York City, London, Paris, Milan with the Dublin winner taking home the World Designer of the Year Award. All seven showcase awards were Powered by Etihad Airways, Junk Kouture’s official airline and global partner.
Other awards presented on the night included the ‘Dare to Wear Award’ presented to Spiralism from The British School Al Khubairat, Abu Dhabi, the ‘Glamour Award’ to Madame Mystique from Dubai American Academy, the ‘Best Makeup Award’ powered by CTZN Cosmetics to Proserpina from GEMS Modern Academy, Dubai and the Innovation Award to Bohemian Pampas Tree from Wilson’s Hospital School, Dublin which was Powered by Deloitte, who are collaborating with Junk Kouture on global youth sustainability. A full list of winners can be found below in Notes to Editors.
The expert judging panel, consisting of Fabio Piras (Head of Fashion, Central St Martins, London), Lise Pierron (French fashion model and influencer), Mehreen Baig (UK Broadcaster & Author) and technical judge Dr Tracy Fahey (Head of Fine Art and Education, Limerick School of Art and Design, Ireland), were blown away by the creative talent, inspiring designs and commitment to sustainability shown by the 53 young design teams.
CEO and Founder of Junk Kouture, Troy Armour, said: “The first-ever edition of the Junk Kouture World Final was an outstanding demonstration of creativity, skill, talent and environmental awareness. I am so proud of all our finalists, and in particular Back to the Future for their remarkable design. Watching all our finalists grow and develop into more confident, skillful, and bold creators has been incredible, and I feel sure that many of the world’s future fashion designers and sustainability leaders were up on stage at Etihad Arena last night. I want to thank all our partners, participating schools, students, parents, and every guest who attended the World Final for all their heartfelt support. Tackling climate change and promoting sustainable practices has never been more important, and our team is now looking forward to reaching and empowering more young people through Junk Kouture 2023.”
Megan Kelly, Director of Global Events & Production, Junk Kouture, said: “What an honour it is to be here in Abu Dhabi for the first ever Junk Kouture World Final. To be able to bring together a global community of young creatives, educators, and fans to such an amazing place is a real pinch-me moment for all of our team.
Like everything, to start something, you need someone who will either have an idea or see the opportunity and that’s what our teachers have done over the last year.
They have championed this and brought the opportunity to their students. For our designers, we wanted to give them a platform to express their brilliance and experience their moment on stage. This will be an unforgettable experience for all and they deserve every single part of it.
We look forward to building a legacy with Junk Kouture and each student and teacher taking part this year is contributing to building the foundations of that.”
Amina Taher, VP of Brand, Marketing and Sponsorship at Etihad Airways, noted: “Etihad is always proud of its role as an advocate for sustainability in the region. Our partnership with Junk Kouture is a natural progression of our journey to date and takes our commitment a step further. We are proud to support the next generation who will have an impact on the world's sustainability journey for tomorrow.”
Hosein Moghaddas, Consumer & Retail Leader at Deloitte Middle East said, “Junk Kouture is an incredible platform to promote environmental awareness, while celebrating fashion, design and creativity. Consumers, fashion brands and retailers are feeling more responsibility than ever before towards the environment. At Deloitte, we are supporting the fashion industry on a global and regional level to transform businesses into more sustainable and environmentally conscious future proof models.”
Alongside the competition, the thrilling final featured enthralling performances from DJ Michelle, the youngest professional female DJ in the world, and Next In Line, the brand-new Irish boyband formed by legendary pop-manager Louis Walsh, the man behind Westlife, Boyzone and Girls Aloud.
In collaboration with Etihad Airways, Environmental Airline of the Year for 2022, as airline partner, all local and international participants and supporters had an unforgettable experience to remember forever.
To enter Junk Kouture 2023, teachers of young creatives aged 13 to 18 are invited to head to the Junk Kouture website www.junkkouture.com for more information.