Junk Kouture: Seagate donates old boots and suits

editorial image

Derry’s largest private sector employer, Seagate Technology, is getting into the spirit of the city’s upcoming Fashion Fest by donating a selection of materials for a Junk Kouture project.

Seagate is supporting an education programme led by Derry City and Strabane District Council as part of its three-day Fashion Fest from November 12th-14th, by donating items to be transformed into high fashion!

Students from the local St Joseph’s Boys’ School will use the cast-offs, including old clean room suits and boots, used blue booties – like the ones they pull over footwear in hospital operating theatres – to create garments for the annual Junk Kouture competition.

The US-owned global data storage company, is also donating some face masks, hair nets and ‘dummy wafers’ - used to run through machines at the Springtown plant for test purposes - for the school’s project.

Seagate came to Northern Ireland in 1993 with the establishment of its wafer fabrication facility at Springtown. Today the facility employs some 1,400 people in the development and manufacture of read-write heads for hard disc drives.

The old clean room suits and boots were in off-site storage and would most probably have eventually gone to landfill. The blue booties are normally recovered and sent away in bales to be used for refuse derived fuel.

June Coates, Seagate’s Internal Communications and Community Engagement Manager, said the company was “very excited” to be involved with the Junk Kouture project, which is a key element of this year’s Fashion Fest programme.

She said: “While the fashion industry may be far removed from the hi-tech manufacturing that takes place at Seagate, it really isn’t such a huge leap in terms of the skills that will be honed through this project. We’re very excited to be involved with an initiative that will require participating students to develop their creativity and to unleash the learning potential of imaginative inquiry.

“They’ll also discover the importance of working collaboratively with each other as they share ideas, make plans and assign roles and tasks. These are the same skills that our engineers and scientists use on a daily basis and, participants in the Junk Kouture project will be able to take their learning with them wherever they go.

“Additionally, as an organisation that is committed to developing and maintaining sustainable, responsible practices in our global operations, we’re delighted to have an opportunity to contribute resources to a project focused on waste recycling and re-use.

“We’re looking forward to seeing our materials - much of which would have ended up in landfill - transformed into high fashion!”

Danielle McNally, Business Officer with Derry City and Strabane District Council who is leading the Fashion Fest preparations, said Council was “absolutely delighted to have Seagate on board” as part of its education programme.

Junk Kouture is a national contest which encourages young designers in second level education to create striking couture designs and impressive works of wearable art from everyday junk that would normally find its way into the bin.

Junk Kouture Catwalks will be held in Foyleside Shopping Centre and Richmond Shopping Centre on Friday, November 13th, as part of Fashion Fest 2015. As in previous years, there will be four regional heats in Dublin, Derry, Limerick and Castlebar. The boys from St Joseph’s School are the first school to compete from the city and hoping to get to The Grand Final, featuring the top 80 dresses, at the 3Arena, Dublin in April 2016.

For further information on Fashion Fest 2015, and to purchase tickets priced £20 each for the Gala Fashion Show in St Columb’s Hall on Saturday, November 14th, at 7pm, visit www.derrystrabane.com/fashionfest