Milking it: Donegal students win Junk Kouture competition with quirky dress design

Written on 02/05/2021
Ciarán Mather


Three secondary school students from Donegal have bagged the €1,000 prize in the Junk Kouture competition for their unique dress made from recycled glass and milk cartons.

The three students - Brónach Harkin, Robyn O’Donnell and Orlaith Doherty - beat 79 others in order to secure the grand prize.

Ms. Pauline McDermott, the trio's teacher, supervised their creative process.

The intricately designed 'Synergy' dress was made from collected sea glass, and the trio also smashed the recycled glass into fine pieces and sprinkled it on top of PVA glue to create the desired effect. 

This glass was then sewn onto the dress to create a panelling sequence for the gown.

In addition, the trio carefully cut out every petal incorporated into the dress from discarded plastic milk cartons.

One of the judges, media personality Louis Walsh, described their 'Synergy' dress as being 'so different, so original, so authentic.'

Another judge, Michelle Visage of RuPaul's Drag Race fame, added: 'Honestly, I don’t know how you worked sea glass into a gown but you did it.'

'And milk cartons? I’m never going to look at a milk carton in the same way. I could be wearing it instead of drinking from it.'

Speaking on their victory, Ms. 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 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.'

Along with their prize, the trio's victory also secured a €2,000 donation for their school, Carndonagh Community School.

It definitely seems that all those long, exhausting hours of sorting through recycled glass and cartons have paid off for the three girls!