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Fast Fashion Reimagined by Loreto Students


In 2023, schools in Ireland and Northern Ireland were invited to submit entries on the theme: ‘Sustainable Style: Fast Fashion Reimagined’. The competition aimed to give pupils the opportunity to be creative on a JPIC priority issue, specifically the important matter of fast fashion, across two categories: one for secondary schools and one for primary schools.

Competition winners in both categories received vouchers worth €200 for 1st prize and €100 for 2nd prize. An independent judging panel with relevant expertise was appointed. This year’s judges were Avril McGettigan of the Costume and Design Department in Inchicore College; Deirdre O’Carroll, Education Officer with Green Campus; and Jane Mellett, Programme Manager with Trócaire.

Winners in this year’s Loreto Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) Schools competition received their prizes on 8th March 2024 at a special zoom event which brought students together from Loreto schools across the country. The prize winners were announced at the Loreto National Gathering by Sr Noelle IBVM, Director of Loreto Trust Board. The event was attended by representatives of Loreto schools, Loreto Sisters and the Loreto Education Trust.

The gathering online not only saw winners recognised but it also offered participants the opportunity to share ideas and inspire each other on how to address JPIC challenges. A short video on Fast Fashion was played at the opening of the event, highlighting the emissions and waste created by fast fashion and the need to develop a system of buying used and locally made clothing.

As the Primary School Competition winners were announced, a video montage of the primary school entries from Grange Road was shown. This was followed by a short conversation between Sr Fionnuala IBVM of the JPIC committee and Ms O’Neill from Grange Road, who explained how the pupils had worked in groups.
Isi Frain and Moya Corser of Grange Road spoke about their project, and they were followed by Eve Giblin and Aoife McKenna who explained how their project surveyed 4th and 5th class students to find out where they buy their clothes and which shops are selling ‘fast fashion’. Ms Kinahan’s class explained how they had operated a swap shop for 3rd to 6th class students. No money was involved, and left-over items were collected and sent abroad as a charity donation to Kenya, where a student’s sister was travelling to help out.

Sr Noelle announced the primary school winners. The 1st prize were shared by Aoife McKenna and Eve Giblin, together with Mrs Kinahan’s class group from Grange Road. They all received a €50 voucher. Isi Frain and Moya Corser were awarded 2nd prize and received a €25 voucher.

The Secondary School competition winners were announced after the showing of a video montage of all the entries received. A phone call was conducted by Robert McGivney of Loreto Navan with TY student Evie Rothwell from Loreto Cavan. She spoke about the project she, along with Muireann Donohoe and Caitlinn Crowe, worked on with help from others. Their title ‘Elegance in Despair’ depicted a girl dressed as a swan, photographed beside a lake. The costume was made from milk cartons and fabric recycled from the art department in the school. The students said they wanted to highlight the danger associated with micro plastics in water and the swan as an endangered animal. Soha Ali from Loreto Navan was interviewed about the project girls in her class undertook on upcycling Christmas jumpers, which are usually worn only once. They did this through appliqué.

Sr Noelle highlighted the difficulty the judging panel had due to the high standard of all the projects. The winners were: First prize of €200 voucher was awarded to ‘Elegance in Despair’ from Loreto Cavan; second prize of a €100 voucher was awarded to ‘Book of Life’ by Adele Sakultye, Kate Grellier and Tori Graham from Loreto Cavan; and third prize of a €75 voucher was awarded to Soha Ali from Loreto Navan.

Sr Fionnuala conveyed a message to entrants from one of the judges, Avril McGettigan of the Costume and Design Department in Inchicore College, who described herself as “bowled over by the high standard” of the entries. She expressed the hope that she might see some of the entrants studying design at third level. As the event concluded, a video, ‘The Change of Climate’ with lyrics by Julie Wornan and music by Simon & Garfunkel (Sound of Silence), played the event out.

After the competition had concluded the following feedback was received from Brona Molloy, art teacher at Loreto College Cavan. “On behalf of Loreto College Cavan the students and I thank you and JPIC for the prize gift vouchers.” She added, when the students entered the competition they said that if they won a prize, it would be “used to pay for an activity for all the students who helped to make the outfit”. The prize, she said, “was a great boost for their hard work and effort making an outfit and taking photos on location”.

“Please continue running the competition as a fashion competition. So many schools do the Junk Kouture competition and so few get to explain and display their work. 1,200 entries were made in 2024 Junk Kouture and only 160 outfits got chosen. It takes so much time and effort. Loreto schools have an opportunity to do our own version to highlight sustainability and the environment.”

Next year’s competition will focus on the theme of ecology.

Author: Fionnuala Lynch ibvm

Photos: Above: Evie Rothwell in Elegance in Despair. Soha Ali with upcycled jumper. Below: Ireland UN/JPIC Committee – L to R, Robert McGiveny, Maria Barry ibvm, Sarah McDonald, Emily Banville and Fionnuala Lynch ibvm