A five stone dress made from two thousand shuttlecocks!!

Aine, Eimear, Orna and Aoife (who is modelling the dress)
Aine, Eimear, Orna and Aoife (who is modelling the dress)
Aoife O' Malley modelling the dress
Aoife O’ Malley modelling the Badminton Shuttle Dress by Junk Kouture

I came across a very interesting photo of a dress made by four transition year students from County Louth who came up with the idea of designing and making a dress out of two thousand shuttlecocks! These young ladies (two aged 15 and the other two aged 16) spent five long months working on this amazing creation. Their hard work however has paid off as they have now made it to the final of the Irish National Junk Kouture Competition. I was so impressed with their work that I decided to contact them. One of them, Aoife O’ Malley spoke to me about their journey.

Shuttlecock by Chris Walker
Shuttlecock by Chris Walker/Flickr

“It took us five months to create the dress because we had to make it from scratch, we started off with a belt and we had to get curtain lining and we used wires to make the actual shape of the dress, with a hula hoop as well to keep it in place. Then we had to make lines and lines of shuttles. We used over two thousand  shuttles which took a long time to collect as we didn’t buy them, we used ones that had already been used and collected them from clubs all over Leinster.”

Every year in Saint Vincent’s Secondary School in Dundalk (County Louth), all transition year students have to make a recycled dress out of whatever they want. Aoife O’ Malley, Aine Reilly, Eimear McCoy and Orna Owen decided to make theirs out of badminton shuttlecocks because they all play badminton and one of the girls suggested that the dress could be made using shuttlecocks.

Aine, Eimear, Orna and Aoife (who is modelling the dress)
Aine Reilly, Aoife O’ Malley (modelling the dress), Orna Owen and Eimear McCoy

The dress itself weighs about five stone. When the girls finished off the skirt and Aoife tried it on, they realised that she couldn’t wear it on her hips as it was too heavy  so they had to get braces so that Aoife could hold it up on her shoulders. When the dress was finally complete, Aoife modeled it at the school fashion show. They then decided to go further and enter it into the Junk Kouture National Competition. This is a competition for second level students which challenges teenagers to create high-end wearable fashion from everyday junk that would normally find its way into the bin.

“we first sent in a photo of our dress to Junk Kouture in order to enter the competition and we also entered the music that we thought would go with our dress if we were to do our routine. Junk Kouture got back to us and told us that we had been selected as one of the 80 finalists in the Eastern Region. We then made it to the regional final in The Helix on the 6th of March, we had to do a dance routine which was a minute and a half long and we did it to a Florence and the Machine song called Blinding. We tried to do a routine which was easy to do with the weight that I had to carry on me as we didn’t want it to look like I was struggling with the weight of the dress. That night they picked the top 20 out of 80 that would go through to the final in the 3Arena and we were named in the top 20.”

Bust piece of the dress
Bust piece of the dress

Voting is open until the 17th of April and I would urge you to get behind these four super talented girls and vote for them to win the Junk Kouture Irish National Competition!! You can vote once a day until April 17th. Click on the link below to access the site and cast your vote now!


The following is an audio clip of my full interview with Aoife O’ Malley.

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