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NBHS Students Win National Junk Kouture World Designer of the Year Competition, Head to Dubai for International Round



NORTH BERGEN, NJ – Two Sculpture and Fashion students from North Bergen High School recently submitted a dress to a competition sponsored by Junk Kouture, an organization that challenges high school students to design, create, and model couture made from 100% recycled materials. Their elegant creation, named “The Nightingale,” defeated other entries by students from across the country, and will now proceed to the international round in Abu Dhabi in January as one of 10 national finalists. Even more impressively, North Bergen is the only public school going to the finals, as all of the other remaining contestants are students from fashion schools.

“This is a tremendous achievement and extremely exciting for these students and their instructors, who will now have the opportunity to represent their community all the way across the world in Dubai,” said North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco. “Not only is this dress a beautiful sight to behold, its meaning is even more significant as it honors all of the great healthcare workers who sacrificed so much throughout the pandemic.”

Made by students C.J. King and Jazzlyn Vargas, with help from their instructors, art teacher Steven Defendini and fashion teacher Marlene Sapoff, as well as previous graduates Josselyn Garcia and Iman Jaludi, the dress was constructed using clean, recycled blue sterilization wrap, the material that surgical devices are wrapped in (sourced from Hackensack University Medical Center) and honors the nurses and medical professionals who toiled tirelessly through the past few years of pandemic.

“My mom is a nurse so it was very important to me to find a way to send a positive message of gratitude to the nurses, doctors, and other healthcare workers who worked so hard for us during the pandemic,” said Jazzlyn Vargas.

“My mom and I have both been dealing with health problems for many years, so seeing doctors and nurses has been a normal part of my everyday life. This piece commemorates and honors all healthcare workers, and it was a beautiful and memorable opportunity for us as North Bergen High School students,” added C.J. King.

Junk Kouture is a fashion competition created in Europe in 2010 by businessman Troy Armour for students ages 13 –18, who must design and create an item from only recycled materials. This is the first time America has participated in the event, which involves participants showcasing their designs initially online through registration, then at regional finals, and finally in a grand final. Designs are judged by a panel made up of industry experts, past contestants and celebrities.