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Ayrshire fashion students take ‘trash to the runway’ in Junk Kouture competition with celebrity judges




A pair of eco-conscious design students are set to wow celebrity judges in a high-profile competition next week with their couture dresses made from recycled materials.

Elouisa Cairns and Mhairi Chalmers, S6 pupils at Ayrs Wellington School, take the rubbish down the runway as they head to London on Thursday May 19 to compete as finalists in the Junk Kouture fashion competition, the biggest sustainable fashion program for young people in the world.

The competition sees youngsters from the UK, Italy, France, Ireland, the United Arab Emirates and New York compete in the hope of receiving a golden ticket to the first-ever global final which will take place in Abu Dhabi later this year.

Other prizes up for grabs in the UK final include cash prize for schools, Apple packages and access to education/training programs.

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The girls' intricate designs are made from recycled materials including candy wrappers, tealight cases and trash bags.
The girls’ intricate designs are made from recycled materials including candy wrappers, tealight cases and trash bags.

And advanced graduate art students Elouisa and Mhairi, both 17, hope their spectacular high fashion designs will wow an all-star jury, which includes model, actress and Love Island presenter Laura Whitmore.

Mhairi, who will be heading to the University of Salford to study costume design after completing her exams, created her Candy Girl dress and headpiece from Drumstick lollipop wrappers, bin bags and paper straws.

She hopes her funky, brightly colored attire can be seen as a sign of hope and joy as the community recovers from the pandemic.

She said: The design is meant to remind viewers of happy memories or perhaps help them create new ones.

I decided to focus my design on positivity and happiness due to the amount of sadness and loneliness that has occurred as a result of Covid.

As we begin to return to normalcy, my design can be seen as a sign of hope and joy for all of us to enjoy together.

Elouisa, left, and Mhairi with their 'Killer Queen' and 'Candy Girl' designs
Elouisa, left, and Mhairi with their ‘Killer Queen’ and ‘Candy Girl’ designs

Killer Queen by Elouisa is made up of upcycled clothing, plastic bottles, tealight cases and art pouches.

Elouisa, who is going to the University of St Andrews to study film and television, said: Killer Queen has been designed with royalty in mind, but at the same time with a dark fantasy twist, to show that beauty can be twisted.

Melting was a big part of the building process. Most of the ornamental elements of it have been melted down, such as the fans made from art files and the flowers made from plastic bottles.

It gave the look a sense of decay, to highlight how the planet is deteriorating due to our mistreatment.

Joyce Morton, art and design teacher in Wellington, said: I’m so proud of them. They are exceptional students.

It’s the fact that they’re Ayrshire girls and they’re heading to London. It’s incredible. What an achievement.

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