Now Reading
Wow! Official First Wave of Top Schools Representing the Sublime Talent of UAE Schools and Students Announced for Junk Kouture 2021 – 22.
Arts, Music and Drama

Wow! Official First Wave of Top Schools Representing the Sublime Talent of UAE Schools and Students Announced for Junk Kouture 2021 – 22.

by Jon WestleyJuly 18, 2021

Background: First Wave of Top Schools Representing the Sublime Talent of UAE Schools and Students Announced for Junk Kouture 2021 – 22.

The extraordinary first wave of top schools that will be representing the UAE in Junk Kouture has been announced.

The global Junk Kouture competition celebrates the creative brilliance of young people, challenging the world’s most talented new generation of designers, engineers, artists and performers to envision, create and model high end couture from everyday “junk.” Together, the aim is a collective global focus on pressing issues of sustainability, climate, the environment and making a difference in the world before it is too late.

“The momentum for Junk Kouture launching in the UAE this September is well and truly building within schools across the UAE.

We have just been blown away by the creative ideas being generated already, with some schools already encouraging their students to start gathering their recycled material over the summer.

The enthusiasm, passion and eagerness to start their creative journey with Junk Kouture highlights to us that students from the UAE are the ones to watch for the JK World Final next summer.

We cannot wait to see their creative talents and fashion prowess shine through.”

Junk Kouture speaking with SchoolsCompared 2021.

The first wave of 28 schools include a spectrum of curricular and schools drawn from across the UAE:


  • Arbor School Dubai
  • Safa British School Dubai
  • Gems FirstPoint School Dubai
  • Repton School Dubai
  • Dubai American Academy
  • GEMS Moderns Academy
  • Al Bateen Academy – An Aldar Academies School
  • GEMS Cambridge International School Sharjah
  • Repton School Al Barsha
  • Universal American School
  • The British School Al Khubairat, Abu Dhabi
  • GEMS Founders School Al Barsha
  • American Community School of Abu Dhabi
  • Springdales School Dubai
  • Gems Wellington International
  • The School of Research Science
  • Amity International School
  • Dubai English Speaking College
  • Park House English School
  • Raha International School
  • GEMS Wellington Academy Dubai Silicon Oasis
  • Al Yasmina Academy
  • American Community School of Abu Dhabi
  • Amity International School Abu Dhabi
  • Aspen Heights
  • GEMS Wellington International School
  • GEMS Dubai American School
  • GEMS Founders School
  • Repton School Abu Dhabi
  • Star International School


How the Junk Kouture competition works – A Global Competition for Students Across Every Discipline and Talent.

The Junk Kouture programme is open to all students between the ages of 13-18 years. Students can enter the competition as an individual or in a team with a maximum of 3 individuals to create a sustainable wearable design from recycled materials.

Teams can be drawn from multiple disciplines including Art and Design, Engineering, Mathematics, Technology and IT – each project will have its own demands and needs for expertise. The competition benefits from students gifted in every department and discipline of school life:

“Many students and teachers ask us, is the JK programme only for students who take Art class, and the answer is no.

Although many students who take art enter Junk Kouture, the programme offers schools an opportunity for cross-departmental collaboration, encouraging students with different skills, passions and knowledge to work together to create an innovative and inspiring design.”

Junk Kouture speaking with SchoolsCompared July 2021

Some examples of the many ways which students from different departments can contribute to Junk Kouture design teams follow.


Junk Kouture Students from Science and Mathematics Departments

Empowering woemn in Science and Mathematics - a key element of Junk Kouture in the UAE

[Pictured: “Lady Equilateral” – Designed to empower girls in STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.]

Students in Science have historically focused on problem solving. For example, the fusion of creativity and science has seen young people working on solutions to the second largest polluter in the world, the fashion industry. This has included development, for example, of new materials and textiles that could help reduce the environmental impact of the fashion industry.

“This sort of skill set in a JK Team would be an asset in really making a design stand out from the crowd.

The fashion industry is going bananas for sustainable fruit and vegetable based fashion. Here’s an example of where science, creativity and fruit merged to form beautiful couture.”

Science and Technology in Junk Couture with schools working across disciplines in the UAE Dubai Abu Dhabi

[Pictured: “Pina Colada” – Created with Pineapple Peel, Pine Cones and Old Rope.]


Junk Kouture UAE 2021 2022

[Pictured: “Shoulder to Crayon” – created by crushing and meting wasted pens and marker caps to create a chequered geometric design.]


Junk Kouture Students from Engineering and Woodworking Departments

Having an interest and knowledge in this area of design can be of great benefit for any students looking to add structural elements to their creation such as a cape on wheels, gigantic wings, using nuts and bolts, veneer wood or welding as a design technique as seen in the images below.

Multi disciplinary Engineering and Wood Work students make powerful contributions to design in Junk Kouture

[Pictured: “Burden of Privilege“]

[Pictured: “Cerasus”]

[Pictured: “Haora Koura”]

[Pictured: “The Rolling Stone”]


Students from Home Economics Departments

Sewing and/or embroidering skills often play a central role in creations.

Home economics skills at the forefront of Junk Kouture 2021 22 in Dubai Abu Dhabi UAE

[Pictured: “Memory Lane” – hand sewed waste photography film is used to create this design.]


Junk Kouture Students from The Performing Arts.

“Any student looking to strut their stuff can model the finished JK creation – but if you’re involved in the Performing Arts department within your schools, why not join a team of designers for you time to shine!

Make sure to choose a song that best reflects the design and its inspiration – and choreograph a routine that you think will leave a lasting impression on the audience and judges.”

Junk Kouture speaking with SchoolsCompared July 2021.

The Performing Arts discipline is valuable in Junk Kouture competition in the UAE

[Pictured: “The Warrior Team” – Junk Kouture Winners of The Junk Kouture Best Performance Award in 2020.]


On the Record: Top UAE Schools Share their Vision for Competing in Junk Kouture 2021-22.

The British School Al Khubairat

Photograph of student at the British School Al Khubaiarat working on her Junk Kouture entry 2021


On BSAK values….

Junk Jouture at BSAK British School Al Khubairat in Abu Dhabi

“The exciting creative and collaborative ethos of the JK competition were initial draws.

The inclusive aspect of JK mirrors our school values. As a school that has an officially recognised Eco status, sustainability and social responsibility are hot topics across all subjects, so this is an exciting opportunity for our art students to express and showcase their ideas through their creative practice.”


On linking students across disciplines…

“One of the extraordinary opportunities of JK is the way it can bring together three students in different disciplines to work on their ideas and final submission as a team.

It means that each of the disciplines need to have an understanding of each other as they work on their individual projects.

We ‘ve had our first meeting and watched our teams across many subjects collaborate.

It’s very exciting to see them working together.

We anticipate including all of our creative arts departments at the British School of Al Khubaiarat – Art, Creative Design, Photography, Textiles and Creative Design, as well as our Global Social Leaders, Primary Eco Society, Computer Science and Engineering departments.”


On the environment…

Photograph of students working collectively on their entry to Junk Kouture in the UAE 2021. Here students at the British School Al Khubairat are designing in the Art Labs.

“The environment, climate change and sustainability are high on the agenda at BSAK and form part of our values.

The 17 UN Sustainable Development goals are displayed in our Secondary Reception area and student awareness and action is discussed in all that we do.

BSAK has also received the International Schools Green Flag Eco Award – a student-led initiative and culture.

In Art especially we explicitly engage in dialogue exploring environment and climate themes – we even have our own BSAK in-house made  ‘re-cycle, re-use and re-loved’ sketchbooks.”


On secret plans for the competition…

“Oh, no secrets can be divulged… but let’s just say that we will aim to Exceed Expectations!”


On the opportunity for students…

3D art work at the British School Al Khubaiat as part of Junk Kouture 2021

“Junk Kouture is a really exciting opportunity for our students to further engage and promote collaborative and inclusive creative practice.

The ethos and values of JK closely align with our own as a school.

The integral aspects of sustainability and climate/eco discourse reflect not only our own progressive culture here at BSAK but also the future vision of the UAE.

We can’t wait to get started and design, create and make!”

Dan Emery Head of Art. The British School Al Khubairat, Abu Dhabi. 


Visit the official British School of Al Khubairat web site here.

Read our independent review for parents of he British School of Al Khubairat here.


Repton School Dubai

The parapets and drama of Repton School in Dubai match those of its UK counterparts with a UAE twist


On the Challenge…

“JK offers students an exciting opportunity to bring their innovation and creativity to a global platform in celebrating and showing off the young talents of creative minds.

The competition allows a taste for working within the excitement of creative industries, allowing our students to develop skills and qualities that prepares them for a creative career path. JK has created a community that inspires and encourages students to become experiential and independent learners.

It is an opportunity that will challenge our most talented students at Repton Dubai. And, of course, seeing the excitement surrounding the competition is contagious.”

On gifted students across Repton School Dubai…

“Repton Dubai has so many students, gifted across multiple disciplines who can bring considerable skills and abilities to their groups.

Collaboration and cross-discipline learning are always encouraged and often seen in the students’ coursework, student-led and extra curriculum activities.

Although the competition will only be launched in September, there is no doubt that the students at Repton Dubai will explore innovative ideas and produce exciting solutions supported by our teachers across departments and faculties.

Students are also encouraged at Repton Dubai to consider local and global issues for a better and safer future.”

On the environment…

“Students at Repton Dubai are passionate about environmental issues and have often shown their enthusiasm for addressing various topics through presentations and activities. The students loved competing in David Attenborough worldwide Save-the-planet competition. This opportunity allowed for a whole school reflection on environmental issues. Students had the chance to look at more challenging concepts such as the Epoch, Holocene, The Great acceleration and Anthropocene and what this means for their future. Knowing our students’ enthusiasm for sustainability, Junk Kouture is yet another opportunity for the school as a community to learn and get involved.”


Top secrets revealed?!

“It would not be a secret anymore if they are shared!

But Junk Kouture at Repton Dubai will be introduced as an exciting new extra-curricular activity where students will work alongside the Arts and other disciplines as the students’ work progresses.

Student autonomy is primarily encouraged, and students will be guided through the creative design process, emphasising the experiential and explorative journey that is so important for young creative professionals.

Repton Dubai is fortunate to provide students with well-equipped facilities and talented specialist teachers to guide them through this journey. The students also thrive when collaborating between different age groups, where older students often share their knowledge and help younger students in their academic and social lives.”


Expect some surprises…

“Junk Kouture is an inspiring and exciting opportunity for our students to showcase their individuality, creative thinking and innovative problem solving.

We are excited to launch the Junk Kouture in September 2021 – and know that our students love for the Arts and sustainability will result in some beautiful, elegant and surprising results.”

Mrs de Beer. Coordinator of Art Senior School. Repton School Dubai.


“We are really excited about Junk Kouture. We love the idea that you can create and design fashion out of almost anything.

It will be great to learn more about sustainability, the environment and different materials we can use.

We look most forward to the planning, designing and making stages of the creative process, and can’t wait to see other students’ unique designs.

We also find it fascinating how different interpretation can be formed.

Finally, we love the idea that Junk Kouture is a worldwide competition and has such a large community that supports the event. We cannot wait to get involved.”

Roshni Vithlani, Hanna Ladha and Sienna Chohan. Year 9 students. Repton School Dubai. 


Visit the Official Repton Dubai Website here. 

Read our independent review for parents of Repton School Dubai here.


GEMS Modern Academy

Main buildings at GEMS Modern Academy in Dubai

On the importance of Art…

“At GEMS Modern Academy, we understand that it is vital for our students to evaluate their own art making practice and make essential improvements continuously to grow as an artist.

Our school always provides opportunities to our students to explore various platforms to prove their talent as budding artists and help sustain their passion and thereby gain popularity.

One of the best ways to break into the world of art is by participating in art competitions. We believe that diligent practice and dedication are the best ways to excel as an artist and participating in competitions and workshops are steppingstones that motivates them to explore and investigate out of your comfort zone by trying something entirely new that they would have never thought of doing before where the students are constantly challenged to do more and better.”


On the opportunity of being part of Junk Kouture 2021-22…

 “Junk Kouture is a significant global platform that will open all the doors of networking for our students and build contacts with experts and professionals in the field of sustainable fashion and design.

There are many potential career opportunities, these giving GEMS Modern students a chance to display their art to the world and provide them with a competitive advantage.

The competition too provides a practically efficient way of analysing and evaluating student’s art. It gives students important advice through the exchange of ideas – and offers the chance for students to improve their art making practice while getting feedback from experts and other participants.

The opportunity provided by Junk Kouture is a beneficial way for our students to engage in making a portfolio, brush up on all the techniques they have learned – and experiment with new things.

We are hopeful that participation in JK will shape our budding artists to reach the best version of themselves.”

Jignyasa Patel. Head. Department of Arts. GEMS Modern School Dubai. 

Visit the Official GEMS Modern Academy Dubai Website here. 

Read our independent review for parents of GEMS Modern Academy here.


GEMS Cambridge International School

GEMS Cambridge International School Dubai working on the theme for her Junk Kouture project

On sustainability and values…

“The GCS sustainability team aims to make every student a responsible and contributing individual in the school, at home, and to the environment and society at large.

We believe in value-based learning brought together by environmental education and community engagement.

These collaborative activities, very much integral to Junk Kouture, will further inspire all members of the school community to create a culture of continuous learning, growth, and development.

Sustainability team meetings help us analyse and assess our resources closely as we move forward as a school in developing our students gifts as environmentally conscious global citizens.

At GCS we have given our students the educational program, physical place, and organisational culture to encourage the development of sustainable habits.

JK will support this approach by challenging our students still further to make  informed decisions and actions that will impact and make a difference in real life sustainability issues.

Our students will work together actively, involving  their communities in collaborative solutions.”


On students from different departments working together in teams to create amazing submissions…

“Our gifted students are leading in multidisciplinary and cross curricular areas.

The GCS culture of values, these embedded within school life, and our design-thinking approach, are used in our art lessons.

Students will be able to showcase this during the development of their submissions for the JK global competition.”


On current progress…

“We are still planning…

We have, however, already informed some students – and they are very excited and happy to participate in Junk Kouture 2021-22.”

Oumayma Ben Salah. Form Tutor and Art teacher. GEMS Cambridge International School Sharjah. 


Visit the Official GEMS Cambridge International School Sharjah website here. 

Read our review for parents of GEMS Cambridge International School Sharjah here.


Safa British School Dubai

Junk Kouture at Safa British School in Dubai

On the opportunity of being part of Junk Kouture…

“Junk Kouture gives an opportunity for students of all ability to participate, the chance to form teams encourages collaboration between students who enjoy different subjects within the curriculum – DT, Art, Science and Mathematics.

Our students will have the opportunity to learn new skills, meet new people and represent the school.”


On progress so far…

Artwork by student working on the Junk Kouture submission for 2021

“Our students have recently participated in the Junk Kouture experience.

They formed teams, researched ideas to make accessories from recycled materials and recorded their ideas.

The concept of only using recycled materials proved a challenge to begin with – but through research and discussion the students were able to find alternatives.”


On exploring the big issues of climate change, sustainability and the environment at Safa British…

“At Safa British School, our curriculum focuses on 21st century learning, ensuring learners are equipped to participate in and contribute to their own society and the wider world.

An important aspect of this is encouraging students to consider significant future-focused issues such as sustainability.

We are giving our students the skills to encourage them to live smarter and reduce our impact on the environment for future generations.

Introducing Junk Kouture into our curriculum will promote both sustainability and creativity.”


On top secret developments…


Having already begun the Junk Couture journey, we have identified a number of very enthusiastic students who have endless ideas to share!

Our teachers are also very creative and ready to mentor the students giving them guidance, motivation and emotional support.

We introduced Junk Kouture to our Year 7 and 8 children just a few weeks ago.

We asked them to start by designing an accessory but many have already moved onto thinking about an outfit…”


On what we can expect for the global Junk Kouture competition…

“I think that Junk Kouture has given me an opportunity to learn new skills and discover a new area of Art that I was not aware of.

It has inspired me to research more about fashion design and create alternative designs.

I am passionate about recycling and promoting sustainability.”

Masa Alkhashashneh. Student. Year 7. Safa British School Dubai. 


“Our secondary students have had a fantastic introduction to Junk Kouture over the past few weeks and it has most definitely made them think outside the box.

In the short time completing this project our students have become more confident, creative and imaginative individuals, who now hold sustainability at the core of their outlook on the world.

Working both individually and collectively, they have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and our students will undoubtedly look at things differently and how they can do their part to eliminate climate change.”

Mrs Wendy Tulley. Creative Arts Department. Safa British School Dubai.



Al Bateen Academy

Al Bateen Academy Winner Junk Jouture 2020 Abu Dhabi


Click here to visit the official Aldar Academies’ Al Bateen Academy web site.

Read our independent review for parents of Al Bateen Academy here.


Dubai English Speaking College

Photograpg stuents engaged in an acting and movement class in the Faculty of Performing Arts at Dubai English Speaking College DESC in Dubai UAE

On taking part…

“The promotional material was very good. Katie, who looks after Junk Kouture in the UAE, is incredibly organised, knowledgeable, and inspiring. We think that it’s a great way to unite an Art, DT and sustainability initiative within Dubai English Speaking College.

We foresee the initiative as an opportunity to unite Art, Design, Technology and the Eco Club at DESC.

This will be undertaken as an extra-curricular enrichment activity that will be overseen by an Art and Design Technology teacher.

We will also reach out to the eco-club and hope to also attract keen innovators in a range of disciplines across the school.”


On Climate change, sustainability and the environment…

“Our children at Dubai English Speaking College are passionately engaged in environmental issues. This is especially true of those involved in the Eco club. Here, DESC students are currently making art out of collected plastic bottle tops.

JK enables us to explore this issue in a way that is engaging to promote such an important message.”


On the build up the the formal launch of JK at DESC

Junk Kouture at Dubai English Speaking College

“The Creative Arts team is very excited to be involved in such an important message about sustainability and climate change.

We cannot wait to unite our students who are keenly interested in ecological issues, art, design, technology and innovation.

We know that we will also attract a range of budding fashion designers to the Junk Kouture project.

We hope JK will lead to students considering design from a different and contemporary viewpoint: as a way of thinking about the now, as well as the preservation of our future…”

Clair Hall. Director of Creative Arts. Dubai English Speaking College. July 2021.


Visit the official Dubai English Speaking School and College web site here.

Read our independent review for parents of Dubai English Speaking College [DESC] here.

Further information on Junk Kouture and Taking Part

Click to learn how to be part of Junk Kouture here.

For more on the biggest student eco fashion awards and the Junk Kouture World Tour live click here.

© 2021. All rights reserved.

About The Author
Jon Westley
Jon Westley is the Editor of and UK. You can email him at jonathanwestley [at]

Leave a Reply