Belfast Telegraph

Students litter the catwalk with ingenious 'Junk Couture' range

Olivia Connery modelling a red and white (coffee cup) dress
Olivia Connery modelling a red and white (coffee cup) dress
Kathleen Fitzpatrick modelling a yellow dress (bottle caps)

By Linda Stewart

No, it's not the catwalks of Milan or London – these are the stunning outfits created by a group of Cookstown students who took their inspiration from the litter on their streets.

Students from Holy Trinity College in Cookstown have been targeting litter in their area as part of a clean-up campaign with Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful.

The Belfast Telegraph has teamed up with Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful and the Department of Environment's Rethink Waste to galvanise 100,000 people across Northern Ireland to tackle litter this spring as part of our Big Spring Clean.

Since the campaign launched earlier this year, hard-working volunteers have come across everything from half a bra, a Halloween mask and a hockey stick, to a dead sheep, a fridge and a baby doll.

The Eco-Warriors from Holy Trinity College organised a group litter pick with Cookstown Primary School pupils, members of Cookstown Council and local Asda store staff, recycling some of it to create fantastic clothing designs for a Junk Kouture competition.

They cleared up 10 bags of rubbish from their schools and the streets of the town as part of a Litter Less initiative, with help from the Foundation for Environmental Education and the Wm Wrigley Jr Company Foundation.

Chris Callan, teacher and Eco-Schools co-ordinator at Holy Trinity College, said one outfit was created from soft drinks cans and another from cardboard coffee cartons.

Another used circular cut-outs from drinks tins which were added to an old dress, creating a stunning outfit.

"They've used everything from cans to plastic cartons to newspaper – anything they could get their hands on," he said.

"Then they come up with the design and the children make it themselves with help from the art teachers.

"By taking part in the Litter Less campaign we have been able to buy extra recycling bins for the school and increase the pupils' awareness of litter. There have been lots of opportunities for discussion and practical activities across a range of subject areas. This is very much a pupil-driven initiative and they take great pride in making sure the school and local area are litter free."

Carmel Fyfe, Eco-Schools manager, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, said: "The Wrigley Litter Less Campaign is really proving to be a great way to educate our young people further on the positive reasons for 'littering less'.

"Through the campaign, 40 schools have been supported to implement practical actions to reduce littering.

"Addressing issues relating to litter is a key part of the Eco-Schools Programme and we are delighted to be once again working with the Wrigley Company on the campaign."

To learn more or to register visit


Last year, more than 50,000 people across Northern Ireland got involved in our Big Spring Clean, together collecting the same weight in rubbish as 26 adult African elephants. This year, the aim is to galvanise 100,000 volunteers. To find out more, contact Nicola Murray at Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful – nicola.murray@keepnorth or 028 9073 6924. The campaign is supported by the DoE and all 26 councils.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph