Solomon Udard models the piece ‘Back to the Future’.

World design award for students

olomon Udard and Josh Uaosabuehien created a magnificent outfit.

Old tractor tubes, window wipers and bathmats may sound like a trip to the skip but, for two Edgeworthstown boys, they were the recipe for a global award.

Solomon Udard and Josh Uaosabuehien created a magnificent outfit using the upcycled items, which they entered in global competition, Junk Kouture.

Having won the national award, the Cnoc Mhuire students were moved onto the global stage in Abu Dhabi where they were awarded the World Designer of the Year accolade last week.

The boys’ outfit, titled Back to the Future, is a futuristic suit of armour which incorporates a unique oversized hood as well as chain mail styled detailing.

Following the competition, the boys and their teacher, Mrs Hetherton received a garda escort back to their school in Granard where students and teachers gathered to welcome them.

Taking to the stage in a large assembly, Josh told how the competition came to light.

“Ms Hetherton came up to Solomon in the hall asking him if he would like to do Junk Kouture in his last year. She said ‘get a friend to tag along with you’, and he chose me.”

Turning to his friend and teammate on the stage, he commended Solomen’s performance on stage in the United Arab Emirates where he modelled the outfit.

“I’ve never achieved anything to this magnitude before. Thank you to Solomon, for the performance that he gave.”

Addressing the attentive crowd, Solomon added: “It’s great to be here as an international winner. I’d like to say thank you to the school, the principal and Ms Hetherton as well for helping me. This school has taught me a lot, I’ve been through a lot here. It made me the person I am today.”

Ms Hetherton, the teacher who nurtured their creativity and supported their journey in the competition, also took to the podium beaming with pride at her students’ accomplishments. She shared her gratitude to everyone who helped them along the way before heaping praise on the students.

“I can’t forget these two legends, Solomon and Joshua. They carried themselves so well over the last week, they were a credit to the school. They were described as cool cucumbers because, no matter what was going on, they were so chilled the whole time and took everything in their stride.

“Solomon was such an amazing performer, he was unbelievable on stage yet again. Josh then does all the speaking and the talking and he’s brilliant at that as well. They’re just a great team.”

Junk Kouture offers schools and students a creative way to become involved in active climate change initiatives, empowering them to lasting behavioural change.

The inspiration behind the boys’ outfit was the damage humans are doing to the planet,m which was explained in the bio they submitted.

‘The planet is on the brink. The risk is real. If we continue to consume and power our lives the way we do now, then our forests, oceans and weather systems will collapse. We need to go back in time and live sustainably and reconnect with our planet in order to have a future. If not, then it is survival of the fittest for the food we eat, the water we drink and the very air we breathe,’ read the entry.

While Cnoc Mhuire Secondary School’s celebrations are ongoing, Principal Pauline McBrien from Swanlinbar used the unique opportunity to inspire students to strive for success of the same calibre both in and out of the classroom.

“Get involved. Look at these two lads, this could be you,” she urged the students in the crowd. “If they can do it, can you not think about doing it? I think you can.”