Japanese schoolgirls are dressing up in brightly coloured clothes made of lead and Dust from their school uniforms and using their teachers’ advice to do so.
They are using the clothes to wear on the playground, to play in the swimming pool, and to play with the children.
But while they are playing they are also making a mark on the environment, according to the Japanese government.
In Japan, there is a “high-tech” movement to recycle old school clothes, and there are plans to bring it back to Japan for use as a material for clothing.
The new trend has become a popular way of showing children that they can be creative, said Haruka Fukumoto, a spokeswoman for the National Institute for Sustainable Development (NISD).
“The trend has been a huge success,” she said.
“The schoolgirls have created a new kind of image of themselves.”
The clothes are dyed with lead, which is a metal used in the manufacture of paints, paper and metal products.
“We have started using this material to make the new clothes,” said Naoko Yoshida, a 16-year-old who is part of a project led by her school and the NISD to recycle and reuse school uniforms.
“I don’t want to wear the old clothes to school, but the children have given me a chance to change my ways,” she told Al Jazeera.
Her mother, Takumi Yoshida of Japan’s northern city of Akita, said she wanted to show her daughter’s creativity and individuality.
“They have done such a good job, I’m not really sure if I can be happy about the whole thing,” she added.
“But I can say they are doing something really great.
They have really taken a risk and I am very happy.”
Her mother’s project is one of many that have taken place around the country.
In July, Japanese schoolchildren made their way to the United States to play basketball and soccer in the United Nations’ World Cup.
And in February, an American schoolgirl made her way to Japan to make clothes from scrap metal and hand-dyed cloth and use them as a fabric in school classrooms.
“You can do this for free,” said the girl, who had to learn to knit on her own and had to borrow her parents’ sewing machine to do it.
“If you do this, you can do anything,” said her mother.
A few years ago, a Japanese fashion designer made a fashion label for Japanese children that used recycled school uniforms as inspiration.
This was inspired by the US’ efforts to use recycled school clothes as a building material, and by the Japanese fashion industry’s embrace of the idea of recycling.
Japan is one the largest consumers of recycled materials, according a 2013 report by the World Resources Institute (WRI).
Japan has also set up a number of initiatives to recycle school uniforms, including a plan to produce uniforms using scrap metal in 2020.
“The goal is to be as green as possible, and as greenly produced as possible,” said Masaru Kato, director of the NISA’s recycling program.
In some cases, Japanese officials have encouraged girls to join the “recycled schoolgirls” movement.
In the past, teachers have said that students who are wearing clothes that have been worn by the adults at home are also not as creative and that the new clothing should help with this.
“It is not a new idea, but it has been adopted by the school girls to show the same skills that the adults do,” said Yoshida.
Yoshida said that the idea was to use the clothes as “paint brushes” to use as an alternative to school uniforms made from dust and paint.
“There are two things they are looking for,” she explained.
“They are looking to improve their image and their self-confidence.
The second is to show them that they are more capable.”
The problem, said Yoshide, is that the girls have been told they must buy new uniforms every year.
“When they are asked to buy new clothes, they are told they have to buy three different sets of clothes.
It is not that they have no choice,” she continued.
“But they are still told that they must purchase the same set of clothes.”
While the NISED is the agency that provides financial support for the project, some Japanese officials are not too keen on the idea, saying that it is not something that should be encouraged.
“Some people think that we are using them as paint brushes and that is really inappropriate,” said Shunichi Sakakibara, a minister in the Ministry of Education and Science.
“Children should be given a chance and they should be allowed to learn the skills that they need.”
Yoshide said that while the project was good for children, it was not yet clear whether the girls were really ready for the change.
“So far, the kids are doing