Waste-coats worthy of the fashion world

Fashions may come and go. Today's toast of the catwalk can become the style gaffe of tomorrow. But pupils at six Norfolk schools have put a new twist on the vagaries of fashion by transforming waste into sought-after attire.

Fashions may come and go.

Today's toast of the catwalk can become the style gaffe of tomorrow.

But pupils at six Norfolk schools have put a new twist on the vagaries of fashion by transforming waste into sought-after attire.

And among the array of garments made from old plastic bags, discarded clothes and empty crisp packets is a range of "waste-coats".

Organised by Norfolk County Council, the waste scheme is aimed at reducing the estimated 12,000 tonnes of clothes thrown away in the county each year.

Workshops took place at Blickling Hall where textile students met artist Jessica Perry, who taught them various techniques, including rag rolling and plastic-bag knitting, to reinvigorate tired old clothes into bang-on trends.

Most Read

She said: "I think it's important people know what went into making that £1.50 T-shirt. A quarter of the world's chemicals and pesticides go on cotton fields. Throwing away clothes and what it does to the environment isn't common knowledge.

"It's a question of educating people. A few years ago not many people knew about battery and free-range eggs but that's all changed. Hopefully it will be the same for clothes and the importance of reusing them."

Only unwanted items were used in the project. The clothes came from recycling banks and the needles and threads were donated by the local community.

And schools were given two days for each pupil to create a rubbish masterpiece and promotional banner.

Laura Tartt, 14, a pupil at North Walsham High School, said: "It's been a lot of fun and I've learned a lot.

"If I had something that was out of date now, then instead of throwing it out I'd just change it. I'll save a lot of money on cheap stuff. And you can make it how you want it. You can walk down the street and when somebody says 'where did you get that?' it'll be so cool to say 'I made it myself'."

And teachers agree that students learn a lot from the sessions.

Anna Cook, textile teacher at North Walsham High School, said: "We jumped at the chance to do this. Not only do they get to work with Jessica but massively expand their skills and learn about the environment.

"It would be fantastic if it was available every year."

So far, sock puppets, ornately detailed bags, ties, collages and of course, the waste-coats, have been rustled up from the waste provided.

But all the items made from Fakenham, Broadland, Reepham, Costessey, Aylsham and Cliff Park High schools will be on display every Wednesday to Sunday from 10.15am to 5.15pm from Sunday May 20 to Saturday June 2, and Monday May 28, at the Hobart Gallery, Blickling Hall.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter