COUNTY Durham fashion designer Giles Deacon swapped the catwalk for the bird box to help the RSPB promote one of its campaigns.

Asked if he would put couture to one side for a moment and turn his attention to wildlife, Darlington-born Mr Deacon leapt at the chance.

The former Barnard Castle School student is one of a number of big names from the fashion industry who have joined with the RSPB to promote National Nestbox Week.

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The event coincides with the launch of London Fashion Week and the likes of Dame Vivienne Westwood, Julie Macdonald, Katherine Hamnett and John Rocha have all taken part.

In somewhat of a radical departure from the nestbox norm, Mr Deacon decorated his plain white box with leather, studs and chains.

Well-known for his playful designs, he said: "I love to make time to support good causes, and the UK's wildlife is a cause that really needs our help.

"It's fabulous that so many designers have got behind this idea - it's a really great way to get us all thinking about how we can make a home for nature on our back doorstep.

"It's fun and makes the world a better, more beautiful place - just like fashion!"

RSPB North-East England spokesman, Chris Collett said: "Wildlife and fashion might not be an immediately obvious combination but when the designers heard our idea they were really keen to use their creative flair to help make a difference.

"We can all do our bit to help by giving nature a home in our gardens or outside space, whether it's by digging a pond, planting nectar-rich flowers or creating a log pile.

"These designer creations are a bit more chic than the usual plain, wooden nestboxes - I'm not sure garden birds would know what to make of them."

The bespoke nestboxes will be displayed in The Shop at Somerset House throughout London Fashion Week (February 14-18) and at Vodafone London Fashion Weekend (February 20-23), and will be sold in an eBay auction to raise money for the RSPB.

All funds raised will go towards the RSPB's conservation work and be spent on projects like restoring wild places, research into species declines and community engagement.