Louis Walsh to Return to Judge at Grand Final in 3Arena

Louis, is a well-known entertainment manager, and has in the past looked after bands such as Westlife, Boyzone and HomeTown. In 2010, he began his television career with Pop Stars, where he looked after and steered his band Girls Aloud to win the show. He has been a sitting judge on the XFactor since 2005, and has recently been announced as judge on Ireland’s Got Talent.

This year Louis will return for his 3rd time to the Bank of Ireland Junk Kouture judging panel, and will judge the best performance prize. “I am delighted to return for a 3rd year to judge at the grand final in the 3Arena. It is an amazing competition to showcase young people’s talent in Ireland and is a great help to the young designer’s future careers”

Pippa O’ Connor Anounced as 2018 Celebrity Judge

Pippa is a key influencer on all things fashion, beauty, and lifestyle. The busy mum of two balances her hectic work life, with spending time at home with her two boys Ollie and Louis. In 2016 Pippa launched the Pippa.ie App, unveiled her new fashion line POCO by Pippa and released her first Best-Selling book. 2017 has seen even more successes, with new styles added to the POCO by Pippa line, residency’s in Dundrum Town Centre and Mahon Point Shopping Centre as a Pop Up Shop, multiple sell out Fashion Factories as well as numerous brand partnerships.

“I am thrilled to be involved in this year’s Bank of Ireland Junk Kouture. Seeing some of the designs from last year, I can really see the hard work and time that goes into creating these amazing creations! They are truly works of art! I am completely blown away by the talent of the young people of Ireland and Bank of Ireland Junk Kouture creates an amazing opportunity for students to showcase their talent and provides them with a stepping stone to jump start their careers in the fashion industry. I am really looking forward to meeting some of the incredible students involved in this year’s competition.”

Stephen Mc Laughlin Returns to the Judging Panel as a Main Judge

Stephen is a first class graduate of the Limerick School of art & design. Mc Laughlin’s graduate collection drew on the life and work of Jean Michael Basquiat. The Six looks delved into Basquiat’s sadly short life, and celebrated his creativity and his life in New York City during the 1980’s. The clothes’ silhouettes are derived from an exploration of New York’s street style in the eighties.

During his time in Limerick, Stephen completed internships with Una Rodden, House of Holland and Marques Almeida in London. After graduating Stephen returned to London to join the team at Sharon Wauchob, he has since left to concentrate on his own freelance design work.

Stephen competed in the competition back in 2010 with his classmates from Carndonagh Community School, Co. Donegal. He was awarded the Bank of Ireland Glamour Prize that year and his design was showcased at the Royal Film Premiere of Martin Scorsese’s Hugo in London. Stephen returned in 2015 as the southern regional student judge, and now will make another appearance as a main judge on the 2018 judging panel alongside, Pippa O’Connor, Louis Walsh, and art and design educators Tracy Fahey, LSAD and Jane Leavey, Griffith College.

He believes that Bank of Ireland Junk Kouture was the foundation in starting his career in design. “It really gave me the hunger, desire and confidence to study fashion design at third level education, and without it I wouldn’t be where I am today, I would advise anyone who has any interest in art and design to get involved, it is the perfect stepping stone to Jump start your career. “


Jane Leavey Set to Return for Another Year on the Judging Panel

Jane is the Programme Director for Fashion Design at Griffith College Dublin. Over the past ten years, she has played a key role in the development of the College’s Fashion Degree. The Griffith fashion degree has built a leading reputation in the industry for creative fashion design graduates with strong technology and business skills.  The calibre of the fashion students’ work has resulted in numerous prestigious design awards and exhibitions, TV appearances on RTE and TV3 and features in press and glossy magazine publications. Through her role, Jane has been creative director of many fashion shows, exhibitions, editorial and video shoots and has made a number of appearances on Xposé.

Jane’s career as a fashion designer began in London; her next stop was Milan where she spent four years designing for global brands. Her work involved sourcing at the international fabric and yarn fairs including Interstoff Asia, Première Vision, Idea Como, Moda-In and Pitti Filati Florence. Throughout her career, she has worked in many of the leading centres of design and manufacturing. She spent several years designing for Mexx International working between their European Design Centre in The Netherlands and their International Headquarters in Hong Kong. Jane developed particular expertise in creating new product lines and brand development.

On her return to Ireland, Jane worked as a consultant designer with Irish brands advising on design, product development and overseas manufacturing. This extensive industry experience and knowledge of education in the field of fashion design lead to her current role in education. Her own art and design education began at IADT, then graduating from the University of Ulster with a BA Hons Degree in Textile & Fashion Design and Diploma in Industrial Studies, before completing her Masters in Design and Digital Media at the D.I.T.

This is Jane’s 2nd year involved in the competition and will again offer the Griffith College bursary to one of the 2018 entrants. “I am excited by the innovative potential and I can’t wait to begin the journey to find the 2018 winners. I’ll be looking for that x-factor, a design which has a creative and original concept, a strong design aesthetic, with good craftsmanship and finishing, and perhaps an eye-catching silhouette for a strong catwalk presence. I am very much looking forward to being inspired.”

Tracy Fahey Returns for a 7th year on the Judging Panel

Dr. Tracy Fahey is Head of Department in Fine Art and Head of Centre of Postgraduate Studies in Limerick School of Art and Design, LIT.  She has previously worked as Head of Department of Humanities, IT Carlow and Head of Faculty of Design, Griffith College Dublin.  She currently sits on the Boards of the Limerick Printmakers, the Centre for Research in Popular Culture, AUT, Auckland and the Centre for Studies in Otherness, Denmark.  She is a former Past President of the Institute of Designers in Ireland and a former Board member of Design Ireland, and the Institute of Design and Disability. In 2013 she established the LSAD research centre ACADEMY where she acts as Director.

Her research passion is the Gothic, and her favourite designers are Alexander McQueen and Gareth Pugh. She is currently working on a book on Irish Folk Gothic for University of Wales Press.  She has published on Gothic art, medical Gothic, art and design education, contemporary design practice.

In 2010 she founded the collaborative fine art practice, Gothicise, who work on site-specific projects related to ideas of site, traces and narrative. Her short fiction is published in fifteen UK and US anthologies. Her collection, The Unheimlich Manoeuvre, was nominated for a British Fantasy Award in 2017 and her second collection, New Music For Old Rituals will be published in 2018.

This is Tracy’s 7th year involved in the competition and will again offer the LSAD bursary to one of the 2018 entrants. “I’m very excited to start a brand new year of the competition, every year I’m blown away by the talent of the young teenagers, and I am sure this year will be no exception. The standards are always climbing higher and I’m eagerly anticipating what the 2018 entrants will bring.“