Archive: May 2013


27 May 2013

From Saturday 25 May – Sunday 9 June, style seekers everywhere will be heading to The OUTLET Banbridge to check out a must-have collection of clothing, footwear and accessories at up to 90% off RRP. Choose from darling dresses under £30 and go from day to night, or opt for a tailored jacket or trouser suit for sailing through boardroom and lunch meetings in style. This iconic label offers modern classics which are timeless, proving an instant hit with celebrities and royals alike.

Look out for elegant knitwear pieces, pretty day dresses, beautiful belts and heavenly heels for the best shopping spree you’ll experience this summer!

Visit the L.K. Bennett Pop-Up Clearance Store in Unit 20 at The OUTLET, Outlet Park, Banbridge, BT32 4LF. Easily reached on the main A1 route linking Belfast and Dublin, just outside Banbridge, The OUTLET is 10 minutes from Newry and 25 minutes from Belfast. The OUTLET also offers free parking on arrival.                        

Call +44 (0) 28 4062 5151 or check out for more information.

Proving they 'Cannes' turn junk into 'Junk Kouture'

21 May 2013

Popular recycled fashion competition Junk Kouture hit the French Rivera with a bang during this year’s 66th Cannes Film Festival.  A number of designers proved they could bring junk back to a fashionable life with their designs for the competition and were selected to travel to the South of France to enjoy the atmosphere during the Cannes Film Festival.   While in Cannes the Junk Kouture models took part in a pop up Junk Fashion show on the Criosette in Cannes to an audience of just over 20,000 people. They also attended the inaugural Junk Kouture Cannes party on the beach. 

The competition, which is famed for transforming everyday waste and junk into pieces of high fashion art, has gone from strength to strength since launching in 2010.  It has seen thousands of teenagers’ work submitted since then with some spectacular and awe-inspiring pieces gracing the competition’s regional and national catwalks as well as the red carpet at the Royal Première of ‘The Hobbit’ in London.  Junk Kouture is the leading fashion and art competition for second level school students across Ireland and has a reputation, among many, as being the most creative.

The designs that made their way to Cannes included ‘Bank of Ireland Glamour Prize’ winners, ‘Pre-Madonna Girl’ - a white, lace creation crafted from broken pearls and discarded lace curtains and ‘Skin Deep’ - a plastic fantastic design which uses plastic packaging and welded chain metal.  The overall winner of this year’s competition, ‘UltraVioletWash’ which is constructed from hundreds of clothes pegs and a tin of UV paint was in attendance as well.  Junk Kouture also brought along a special ‘Great Gatsby’ inspired dress for the occasion called ‘Bold As Brass’ - a dress that wouldn’t look out of place in Baz Luhrmann’s new adaption of the F Scott Fitzgerald’s novel made from old used bullet casings.     All designers are second level students from across Ireland.

Founder of Junk Kouture, Elizabeth O’Donnell had this to say about Junk Kouture’s appearance in Cannes: “Our ethos at Junk Kouture is to inspire and motivate all our entrants.  We decided that following the success of Junk Kouture at the Royal Première last year we wanted to give our entrants another opportunity to showcase their designs at a high-scale event and also on an international level.  This was our first time in Cannes and we loved every minute!”

Damien Daly, Director of Marketing had this to say about Bank of Ireland’s involvement with the Glamour Prize saying, “‘Bank of Ireland are delighted to sponsor the Junk Kouture Glamour Prize. The drive and passion shown by the students can be seen in their fantastic creations. A trip to the Cannes Film Festival is a once in a lifetime experience that no doubt will inspire more creative outfits from these young talented designers. This will be a big stepping stone to great careers in the fashion world.’’


14 May 2013

The nationwide search to find a fresh face to represent Northern Ireland at Miss World ended last night (13 May) as gorgeous Meagan Green was crowned the Open + Direct Miss Northern Ireland 2013 at a glittering ceremony in the Europa Hotel.

Meagan,age 23, a student from Lisburn,beat off stiff competition from twenty five other finalists to walk away with this year’s crown plus thousands of pounds worth of prizes including an all-expenses paid trip to Miss World in Indonesia, a Kia car from Downey’s, taxed and insured for a year by Open + Direct, as well as a wardrobe of designer dresses for Miss World from Beverly Hills and a front cover photoshoot with IN! magazine. Beauty prizes, which will keep her preened and prepared for her role, include one year’s hairdressing and LA Tanning Treatments from TAN 2 U Mobile Spray Tanning, as well as 1 year’s eyebrow threading, eyelash extensions and nail treatments by Renu at Michele International, a £500 makeup hamper from Paddy McGurgan’s Make Up Pro store and a makeup lesson with Paddy himself plus luxurious beauty treatments from Beauty Culture as well as stunning designer sunglasses from Jonathan Keys. She also wins gym membership at the Culloden Spa and her modeling career will also get off to the right start with a photoshoot session with Andy Cameron Photography and a year’s contract with top model agency, ACA Models.

Winner Meagan said: “I think I’m in a state of shock, I am just so happy and truly delighted to be taking over the crown and representing Northern Ireland! Being part of the competition has been amazing fun and I honestly never thought I’d get this far.  I’m very excited for what lies ahead and I know the best is yet to come, especially with the once-in-a-lifetime trip to Indonesia for Miss World.  I’m thrilled to say the least and I plan to enjoy every single minute of the next year.”

The extravagant gala final was a glamorous affair hosted by stunning TV presenter Zoe Salmon - a former Miss Northern Ireland herself – alongside TV news broadcaster, Marc Mallett. Audiences were wowed by the entertainment, the contestant performances and a fabulous fashion show by fashion sponsors The OUTLET in Banbridge.

Colin McEvoy, Director of Operations for title sponsor Open + Direct said: “Staff from each of our 16 branches have been cheering on their local finalist, but I can say on behalf of everyone at Open + Direct that we’re all delighted Meaganhas won this year and we wish her all the very best for the year ahead. We’re so proud to have been the title sponsor for the Miss Northern Ireland contest again in 2013, it’s been another fantastic year for the competition and one that all of our staff have enjoyed being part of.”

And handing over her title, the 2012 winner Tiffany Brien said: “I’ve had an amazing year as Miss Northern Ireland and have enjoyed so many fantastic experiences.  It’s with a heavy heart that I have to hand over my crown but I’m delighted to be passing it to Meagan, who is a very worthy winner.  I wish her every success with her year as Miss Northern Ireland 2013.”

Runners up on the night included Anna Henry age 18, from Portglenone who is a student who came second and Emma Ward age 22, from Belfast also a student, who was placed third.


01 May 2013

Diet Coke has teamed up with Belfast FASHIONWEEK and is currently on the lookout for aspiring fashion designers to take part in the much-loved Diet Coke Design Award which is now into its fourth year.  The award is an integral part of autumn/winter Belfast FASHIONWEEK and 2013 poses a new design challenge with the chosen theme of ‘30 years of fashion’ celebrating the  30th anniversary of Diet Coke. Fashion lovers across Ireland are invited to submit design concepts celebrating the fashion of the ‘80s, ‘90s and ‘00s.

 The Diet Coke Design Award is open to all fashion fans from now until Friday 13th September. The competition opens doors in the fashion industry by offering a place on one of the highly sought after short fashion courses at London College of Fashion – including flights and hotel accommodation.

Entrants will be asked to put their raw talent to work by designing a fashion forward and unique garment which encapsulates a decade of their choice from the past 30 years. Three finalists will be shortlisted by a team of judges and all three shortlisted designs will be created by Una Rodden. The winner will be announced at the finale show of A/W’13 Belfast FASHIONWEEK with the prize awarded live in front of the anticipating audience as well as a photo shoot with leading photographer Khara Pringle. 

Aoife Nagle, Senior Brand Activation Manager, Diet Coke, is excited to see what creative spectacles our Irish talent has to offer: “The Diet Coke Design Award is going from strength to strength each year and the standard is always incredibly high.  It never fails to amaze me how wonderfully creative and unique our Irish talent is.  This year is even extra special as Diet coke celebrates its 30th Anniversary – the Design Award is a brilliant opportunity to celebrate 30 years of the brand as well as 30 years of incredible fashion.  It’s fantastic to be able to open the floor up to up-and-coming designers by providing an outlet to showcase their hard work, talent and enthusiasm.”

Director of FASHIONWEEK Cathy Martin added: “The competition is perfect for anyone with an interest in fashion and/or design.  Perhaps you are a fashion student or graduate or maybe you’re a busy working mum or dad and it’s a hobby on the side, either way we want to hear from you.  The first ever winner of the Diet Coke Design Award in 2010 was a banker who loved tweaking dresses in her spare time. She worked with Una Rodden to create a catwalk-worthy, stunning dress and really enjoyed her time at London College of Fashion doing a course in Structured Lingerie.

Suzanne Ferncombe from Co. Waterford who was last year’s winner, said the Diet Coke Design Award is a great platform for upcoming Irish designers:  “I really enjoyed taking part in the competition last year.  It was a great opportunity to express my creativity and individuality and then watch it come to life on the catwalk!  Being part of the buzz at Belfast FASHIONWEEK is also an invaluable experience which gives great insight into the world of designers as well as lots of opportunities to meet with and gain inspiration from, other successful Irish designers.”

For more information on the competition and how to enter, please contact the Belfast FASHIONWEEK team on +44(0)28 9032 4437 or email The brief and application form are also available for download from

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