One of the creators of Ireland’s winning Junk Kouture project has been awarded a scholarship in Fashion Design at Griffith College.

‘Synergy’ by Robyn O’Donnell, Orlaith Doherty, Brónach Harkin from Carndonagh Community School was the overall winner of the fashion up-cycling competition last week.

Robyn O’Donnell also won the opportunity of a lifetime after being chosen as the winner of the Griffith College Bursary. A scholarship for the coveted BA (Hons) in Fashion Design is offered to one student each year.

The scholarship was presented by Junk Kouture judge and Programme Director for Fashion Design at Griffith College, Jane Leavey.

Jane said: “Synergy is a great sustainable design – so beautifully crafted and the level of workmanship made it a standout as a winning design and a deserving winner of the Griffith College Scholarship. It is very much a red-carpet design and very Couture!”

‘Synergy’ by Robyn O’Donnell, Orlaith Doherty, Brónach Harkin from Carndonagh Community School. Pic: Orfhlaigh Whelan

Inspired by Elie Saab and his iconic fish tail dresses, the winning project named ‘Synergy’ was made entirely from sea glass, recycled glass and plastic milk cartons.

Petals were individually cut from discarded plastic milk cartons and sea glass smashed into fine pieces and sprinkled on top of PVA glue created the garment’s distinguished panels.

The trio worked under the guidance of teacher Pauline McDermott.

The design also won the Northern Region and the Griffith College Bursary Awards. Pic: Orfhlaigh Whelan
Pic: Orfhlaigh Whelan

Brónach, Robyn and Orlaith’s design certainly displayed the synergy between the three deserving champions, as their combined effort wowed an expert panel of judges including X-Factor judge Louis Walsh and RuPaul’s Drag Race judge Michelle Visage.

Thanks to their exquisite craftmanship, outstanding creative prowess and impressive stage presence, the team walked away with €1,000 in prizemoney and a further €2,000 for their school.

Robyn O’Donnell said: “We are shocked and so excited to have won, we can’t actually believe that this has happened after everything in the last year, there were a lot of obstacles along the way!

“Thank you so much to the judges for choosing us.

“All the hours we spent on this gown have paid off – we collected sea glass on the beach, smashed old jars and bottles and cut out hundreds of petals from milk cartons. Thank you to our teacher for all her encouragement.

“We loved every moment of the Junk Kouture experience and are so glad that the final got to go ahead.”

Overall winner of Junk Kouture 2020 Powered by RTE and Supported by Creative Ireland ‘Synergy’ by Robyn O’Donnell, Orlaith Doherty, Brónach Harkin from Carndonagh Community School. Pic: Orfhlaigh Whelan

Originally scheduled for April 2020 in Dublin’s 3Arena, the sustainable fashion competition was televised for the first time in its ten-year history as a result of the pandemic.

CEO of Junk Kouture Troy Armour from Buncrana said: “Well done to all our 2020 finalists who waited so patiently for their moment to shine. I hope everyone watching on TV here in Ireland and in our new international territories on RTÉ Player enjoyed this spectacular show. As always, I am in awe of the talent among these remarkable young people.

“I would like to extend a huge congratulations to our overall winners Brónach, Robyn and Orlaith – they embody everything that Junk Kouture is about. They have a flair for fashion and sustainability is at the heart of this fabulous creation. I am sure these young creatives have bright futures ahead of them.”

Registration for the 2021 competition is open now for students across Ireland and the UK until Friday 19th April. Head to now for more information.