More than 80 designs were entered into this year's very different Junk Kouture competition, but finally a winner has been revealed.
In their breathtaking homage to the sea, Donegal students Brónach Harkin, Robyn O'Donnell and Orlaith Doherty turned sea glass, plastic milk cartons and smashed jam jars into a stunning Elie Saab-inspired gown.
Their design, 'Synergy', a romantic and glamorous fishtail gown with statement shoulders and a matching structural headpiece, was crowned the winner as the fashion event was televised for the first time.
Junk Kouture is a global platform to unleash the creative brilliance of young people. One way it does this, is through a fashion competition which challenges the world's most talented emerging designers, engineers, artists and performers to envision, create and model high end couture from everyday junk.
Filmed in breathtakingly beautiful venues across Ireland, the final has been adapted for the times we live in, not only granting students the opportunity to model their creations in a safe way but to also gain the experience of being one of the stars of a television production.
The Donegal winners will be walking away with a €1,000 prize, with a further €2,000 for the winning school, Carndonagh Community School.
The trio had truly evoked the title of their project, working superbly as they spent months sewing, cutting and smashing glass. The sea glass was sown onto the dress, and the group made glass panelling from scratch, smashing recycled glass into fine pieces and sprinkling it on top of PVA glue to create the desired effect.
The shimmering sequins were handcut from discarded plastic milk cartons and layered to create a fluttering effect.
Speaking about their win, team member 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!
"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."
The finished design certainly wowed an expert panel of judges including X-Factor judge Louis Walsh and RuPaul's Drag Race judge Michelle Visage.
Congratulating the winners, Visage said: "You were scintillating, that was unbelievable! 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."
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Adding to the praise, Walsh said: "That was so different, so original, so authentic and it's made from glass. Obviously, an awful lot of work went into it and it shows. It’s just absolutely beautiful and a great, great winner."
Synergy weren't the only ones to sashay away with a prize, as a number of other stunning designs were celebrated on the big night.
Full list of winners 2020
Overall winner and North Region winner: Synergy by Brónach Harkin, Robyn O'Donnell, Orlaith Doherty, teacher Pauline McDermott, Carndonagh Community School, Donegal
East Region winner: The Devil Within by Laura Byrne, Katie Brady, Lisa Murray, teacher Grace Boon, Margaret Aylward Community College, Whitehall
South East Region winner: Element 13 by Grace Maher, teacher Kate Garner, Tullow Community School, Tullow
West Region winner: Blinded by Perfection by Caoimhe Lowry, Grainne Geoghegan, Erin Hickey, teacher Pamela Keogh, Moate Community School, Moate
South Region winner: Givin’ It Welly by Laura Hally, Cathy Horgan, Emma Ryan, teacher Michael English, Ursuline Community School, Thurles
Glamour Award 1: Imperium by Victoria Canty, Ellen O’Gorman, Saoirse McCarra, teacher Mairead Fennell, Presentation Secondary School Clonmel
Glamour Award 2: Hanging by a Thread by Gabriela Dyrcz, Lucy Egan, Christine Keely, teacher Frances Kerrick, Colaiste Brid, Enniscorthy
Most Unusual Material: Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Kate Fitzgibbon, Sarah Egan, Rebecca Hogan, teacher Michael English, Ursuline Community School, Thurles
Waste2Wear Creative For a Cause: Darkness Into Light by David Tulgara, Jack Scally, Sian Mc Laverty, teacher Sharon Carberry, Castlepollard Community College, Castepollard
Finishing Touches: Get With the Programme by Jessica Henson and Louise Denby, teacher Oonagh Kelly, Our Lady’s Bower, Athlone
Bright Enterprise Award: Peace Unfolds by Sarah Tuohy, Elise Finn, Grainne McCaul, teacher Jayne Louise Kelly, Scoil Chriost Ri, Portlaoise
Best Performance: Warrior Team by Ange Mputu (performer), Simone White, Bernadette Maughan, teacher Caroline Murray, Blanchardstown Youth Reach
LSAD Bursary: Element 13 (recipient Grace Maher), Tullow Community School, Tullow
Griffith College Bursary: Synergy (recipient Robyn O’Donnell), Carndonagh Community School
Teacher Hall of Fame: Pamela Keogh, Moate Community School, Moate
JK Junior (announced in March): The Story Begins by Sasha Evans, Rachel Treverton, Leah Rainey, teacher Tanya Creighton, City of Armagh High School, Armagh