Microsoft has announced a partnership with the world’s largest youth sustainable fashion competition, Junk Kouture to support their shared mission to raise awareness and educate the next generation about circular systems in fashion, as well as celebrating solutions where technology and creativity work together to help drive change in the industry.
Junk Kouture is a creative program open to 13-18-year-olds that challenges young people to design, upcycle and create high end Kouture from 100% recycled materials before showcasing their sustainable designs at live events across the globe. Dubbed ‘The Eurovision for fashion and creative young people’, the competition focuses on creating the circular engineers of tomorrow, by taking junk and applying creativity and innovation to make garments suited for a fashion runway.
Junk Kouture’s programme includes an in-school educational platform that reaches over 850,000 students in 1,150 schools and is currently active in six countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Italy, and the United Arab Emirates. Over the next ten years, Junk Kouture’s ambition is to enrich and empower the lives of a billion young people across the world through creativity and sustainability.
The new partnership will see Microsoft and Junk Kouture collaborate to develop Masterclasses that can be viewed on Microsoft’s Flip platform, a video discussion app to share videos and build communities by learning together. Microsoft Flip will be the primary platform to connect masterclass experts from the world of fashion and sustainability with the global creative community of educators and students.
“Microsoft and Junk Kouture share a vision to empower the next generation and encourage future circular engineers through connected education. Our technology allies with Junk Kouture’s mission and enables accessible information for students across the globe, no matter where they are. As a brand, Microsoft has a strong foundation in supporting, and empowering people and organisations in the fashion industry – to inspire creativity and innovation and build a more inclusive and sustainable future.” Maruschka Loubser, Director of Global Brand Partnerships Microsoft
Microsoft’s campaign will showcase designs from the 2022 programme and connect these two important topics and themes of the UN Sustainability Development Goals (SDG) that are a priority for Junk Kouture. Content including student Masterclasses will be released monthly from February to June and will cover:
- Quality Education with Back to the Future in Dublin.
- Back to the Future is a futuristic coat of armour that represents reconnecting with our planet to save the next generation.
- Responsible Consumption & Production with Tree of Life in Milan.
- Raising awareness of pollution and environmental damage, the Tree of Life aims to increase awareness for respect and love for our planet.
- Gender Equality with Soaring High in London.
- Soaring High is a design based on women flying high over society, representing stereotypes of gender and breaking the norm.
- Climate Action with Gaia in Abu Dhabi.
- Gaia is a goddess inspired design based on natural elements, symbolising the UAE’s trees, palms and desert climate.
- Sustainable Cities & Communities with Nightingale in New York.
- Nightingale was created to honour all nurses and medical professions who sacrificed their lives over the pandemic. The design represents the hope and virtue that spirits these industries.
- Reduced Inequalities with Divide and Conquer in Paris.
- Based on the avant-garde take on Pierrot and Harlequin from the Commedia dell’arte, the division of social classes is characterised through design and materials.
In addition to the Masterclasses, Microsoft will support a new awards category within the competition – the Microsoft STEAM Award – will be created and given out at the 2023 World Final of Junk Kouture later this year. The award will be presented to the design and designers that best integrate elements of STEAM into their work.
“Young people can often feel helpless in the face of the climate crisis and that’s why at Junk Kouture, we give them a global platform and the tools to use their voice and the creative outlet to showcase their solutions. Our ambition is to reach 1 billion young people over the next 10 years, generating lasting behavioural change through creativity and education content around STEAM and sustainability that impacts our planets future along the way. We create the next generation of changemakers, and that’s why it is vital for us to collaborate with the right partners like Microsoft, that not only align with our vision and values but have the global experience to help us achieve this ambition. We are excited to have the team at Microsoft join us on this exciting journey.” – Troy Armour, CEO & Founder Junk Kouture
This announcement continues Microsoft’s support for organisations and individuals that are driving change within the fashion industry. Through existing partnerships, Microsoft has already established itself as a brand that is empowering fashion leaders to reimagine creative processes to drive even more creativity, productivity and sustainability within the industry and help to transform the business of fashion, through technology that pushes boundaries.
As a business, Microsoft is helping to create a more sustainable world, with the brand making commitments in four key areas: carbon, water, ecosystems and waste, with the goal of becoming net positive by 2030.
Header image caption:
Pictured – ‘Soaring High’ by Dominica Kodeesawaran (model), Grace Bowden and Annabelle Blackwell of Denmark Road High School, Gloucester at the World Final of Junk Kouture in Abu Dhabi on the 11th January 2023. Soaring High is created from sweet wrappers, old clothes, napkins and teabag paper and won the Best Performance Award.