The Jewellery Edit: Time to recycle, reuse, and redesign

The Jewellery Edit: Time to recycle, reuse, and redesign
Former Miss Ireland and primary school teacher Aoife O'Sullivan with students modelling Junk Kouture designs.

Helen O’Callaghan says Junk Kouture helps turn waste into fashion

Scavenge through the family recycling bin or rummage around your bedroom for old jewellery or knickknacks – anything from discarded items in the wardrobe and remnants in the shed you know your parents will never fix, to empty egg boxes or used-up tea bags.

This is the call from Junk Kouture, which is all about breathing new life into something previously thought of as waste, while urging students to care for the environment. Junk Kouture has teamed up with global digital money app Revolut and is challenging Ireland’s budding designers in primary and post-primary schools to engage with new campaign – ‘Revolutionise Your Outfit’ – and make an accessory out of junk.

With safety a priority during Covid-19 and schools closed, it’s important to avoid cabin fever and what better way, say the competition organisers, than designing your own facemask, crafting your own jewellery or customising your old shoes.

The Jewellery Edit: Time to recycle, reuse, and redesign
Ffaming Phoenix for Junk Kouture by Eimear Diffley, Rachel Lawe, and Amy Shanagher.

Junk Kouture Junior ambassador and former Miss Ireland Aoife O’Sullivan says students might be missing school art classes, but designing an accessory for Revolutionise Your Outfit can bring the classroom into the home.

“It also opens a discussion at home on our role in protecting the environment while encouraging a child’s imagination – and possibly planting the seeds for their future career, whether a fashionista, engineer, or environmentalist,” says Aoife, who teaches first and second class at Minane Bridge NS, Cork.

Adding that she got a sewing machine at Christmas, which her mum has been teaching her to use, Aoife says she has up-cycled some of her own clothes – and made three re-usable face masks.

I’ve been cutting up pants for shorts, giving blouses different necklines and turning dresses into tops. I’m very conscious of fast fashion and that a lot of air and water pollution is caused by clothes manufacturing. And through de-cluttering, I’ve realised how much I actually have in my wardrobe.

Former Junk Kouture contestants are providing lots of inspiration, with some creating fashion accessories that make a difference during Covid-19. Carlow 16-year-old Sophie Broderick has made 100% cotton, plastic-lined, colourful facemasks that she donated to frontline workers and the elderly and vulnerable in her parish.

Another former contestant, Mariusz Mallon, has created a line of matching bucket hats and masks.

View this post on Instagram

‘Revolutionize Your Outfit' Bottle Caps Tutorial ⁣✌🏼 ⁣ Take a look at this creative technique demonstrated by past JK participant @cian_newman26 , who shows us just how easy it is to create multi-use patterns out of plastic bottle caps. ⁣ ⁣ Why not use this technique using different coloured caps in an element of your accessory? You could even make extra to use as a frisbee like Cian 😂⁣ ⁣ If you've started designing your accessory, be sure to tag us in your stories so we can share it with the JK Community 😄 ⁣ ⁣ #junkkouturerte #revolutionizeyouroutfit #bottlecaps #singleuse #creativity⁣

A post shared by Junk Kouture (@junkkouture) on

For inspiration for creating your own unique design, visit www.junkkouture.com or scroll through Instagram @junkkouture.

You’ll find tutorials from Junk Kouture stars from across the years – they’ve come up with easy-to-follow methods for making a wide range of accessories, from earrings to headpieces. Junk Kouture judge and fashion designer Stephen McLaughlin also offers helpful advice.

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