Capturing the imagination of over 100,000 students to date, the Irish-born start-up Junk Kouture was formed in 2010. It aims to empower young people with its primary offering, a Recycled Fashion Competition for all young people aged 13-18. Aspiring artists, budding designers, and engineers are challenged to envision, design, create and model wearable haute couture styled from everyday junk.
Incorporating elements of sustainability, fashion, art, design, engineering, and performing arts, a Junk Kouture creation can be inspired by anything, but the golden rule is that the outfit must be made from 100% recycled materials.
The highly anticipated competition is now opening its doors to France. Everything from Nespresso capsules, sea glass, milk bottles, and much more have been used to create beautiful haute-couture inspired pieces.
Celebrity judge Michelle Visage of RuPaul’s Drag Race fame, was clearly blown away by the student’s work stating: “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. That is unbelievable”
France loves fashion that’s not fast
Junk Kouture is not alone in its quest to promote sustainability in fashion. France is leading the way in Europe when it comes to ending fast fashion. Government officials have put together a bold new plan to make France the sustainable capital of the world by 2024. Coined the “Paris Good Fashion” initiative, it will bring designers and experts together to make fashion in France Greener.
Leading fashion sustainability consultant in France and founder of Fair game Studio, Laura Hayes says “France is leading impressive examples in sustainability including President Emmanuel Macron hiring Kering CEO Francois-Henri Pinault in 2019 to create a ‘coalition’ of CEOs and top brands in the fashion industry who join forces and set ambitious sustainability targets together.
“Kering is the parent company to some of the world’s most iconic fashion brands and that role, a first-of-its-kind, marks a new era of collaboration and open-source cooperation across the fashion industry and possibly other industries down the line. The idea of sharing ideas and resources in the fashion industry had traditionally been hush-hush until that point.”
France’s goals align with the competition perfectly and that is why there is no better time for Junk Kouture to arrive and help transform the fashion industry through the creativity of young people. Later this year, young creators across six countries will have the opportunity to participate in Junk Kouture. Submissions will be made on the new Junk Kouture app, with the top designers from each country qualifying for the Digital World Final.
Junk Kouture offers incredible prizes for winners. Such as attendance at prestigious events, memorable experiences, bursaries and scholarships, and a monetary prize for the winning school! 2021 is no different with an amazing list of prizes up for grabs in the digital competition.
French brands have proven they are ready to promote sustainability in fashion by shifting their designs to inspire the same young people competing in the competition. Brands like H&M, Vejas, Sezane, and large department stores like Galleries Lafayette have all shown they want to bring more sustainability to their products. Maybe these young budding students can inspire their next designs and sustainable textiles.
Visit www.junkkouture.com to find out more and register your interest in the upcoming competition. You can also stay inspired, gather tips, and keep up to date with the latest news and updates on social media @junkkouture.
By Krystal Kenny, author of Paris, A Life less Ordinary: A Memoir, and photographer at MissParisPhoto.com