The height of ‘Kouture’ for Mariusz

The design Anthropocene, designed by Mariusz Malone from anti slip plastic and scrap metals.

The design Anthropocene, designed by Mariusz Malone from anti slip plastic and scrap metals.

The Buncrana student named as the Northern winner in this year’s Junk Kouture finals said he “never expected” his success.

Mariusz Malon, a student at Scoil Mhuire in Buncrana, won the accolade for his design ‘Anthropocene,’ which was mainly created from anti slip plastic and scrap metals as well as plastics and glass all found in a local abandoned factory.

As well as being one of the four regional winners on the night, Mariusz, who is originally from Poland, also won a scholarship to the Limerick College of Art and Design.

The Junk Kouture competition has its roots in Inishowen and was co-founded by Elizabeth Curran and Troy Armour, both from Buncrana. It has continued to go from strength to strength and its final was held last Thursday in the 3 Arena in Dublin.

The judges comprised of model, fashionista and presenter Vogue Williams, guru to the stars Louis Walsh, stylist Rob Condon, Vogue India’s fashion editor Lorna McGee and art and design educator, Tracey Fahey. All of the night’s winners, including overall winner ‘Jewel of the Nylon’ by students from Our Lady’s Bower, Athlone, appeared on Friday night on ‘The Late Late Show’.

Mariusz, who lives in Buncrana with his “very proud” parents Bogdan and Krystyna and sisters Isabella and Aneta, described the competition and his success as “very exciting.”

He said: “I did not expect to win the northern region. I’m also really excited about the scholarship. I want to study art and design in the future. I went to the Limerick College of Art and Design for a week, studied there and saw the campus. I really liked it and I like Limerick, so that’s very exciting too.”

While some of the entries were a collaborative design between a group of students, Maruisz undertook his all by himself. He was solely responsible for the design and creation of the piece, as well as the performance on the night of the final. Maruisz chose everything from music to choreography and also modelled the piece himself.

He told the ‘Journal’ how he enjoys working alone and being involved in the entire process and added how he draws, designs and creates “all the time at home.” He did, however, pay tribute to his mother who “really helped” with the design, particularly with stitching, his art teacher Marie Boyce, former art teacher Veronica Buchanan, as well as teachers Rois Deeney who “really inspired” him and Ms Jan Wheston who helped with the performance. Mariusz described the grand final as “really great” and added he “wasn’t nervous” beforehand. He attributed this to the fact he also made the finals with one of his designs two years ago and believed his piece this year was even better. He added: “I wasn’t nervous as I made so many new friends and had a great time.”

Maruisz said he wanted to create a design based on the future and in the colour scheme of white and gold.

‘Anthropocene,’ he said, is a “new time period we are entering where humans are destroying the place.”

He added: “Anthropocene means the future and that was the theme which brought the whole outfit together.”

Mariusz admitted the only time he felt nervous across the entire weekend was when he appeared on the ‘Late Late Show’. Now hailed as a designer to watch, Mariusz said he received many congratulations when he returned to school yesterday.