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From covid to couture

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By Fiona Reid
From covid to couture

A DRESS made out of leftover PPE offcuts from factories in Annan and Dumfries has hit the catwalk.

Fashion student Lorna Gibson created the gown from excess material used by Alpha Solway in the production of protective clothing.

It was for her final year university project and featured in a show at the University of Salford and will go on to Graduate Fashion Show, with hopes it will eventually feature in London or Paris Fashion Week.

She was provided with the excess material by the Globus Group, who own Alpha Solway and have a commitment to reach net zero by 2027.

Using distinctive green fabric exclusively from the Chemmaster protective clothing series, budding fashion designer Lorna was inspired to create something stylish.

Explaining more about her aspiration to raise awareness around the low representation of women in industrial jobs, she said: “The social expectations surrounding women in industry are somewhat unclear and out of date.”

Seeing beauty in intrinsically unfashionable but practical workwear, she decided to flip this notion on its head, creating something unique.

Lorna continued: “My ambition was to make typically ‘unstylish’ safety workwear more appealing. I was passionate about upcycling protective clothing from the sector to make it stylish.

“Although an intimidating task at first, the firm and thick nature of chemical suit material makes for a great base fabric when producing high volume. The Chemmaster in particular, offers a ‘firm but flexible’ exterior due to its PVC coating. Coincidentally this made it ideal for the quirky shaping that I needed to make this dress. It’s a bit of fun that also makes a serious and important point.”

With almost 30 years’ heritage, Globus is the UK’s largest PPE manufacturer – but until now its products have been more at home on a construction site than a catwalk.

Alpha Solway managing director Steven Binnie said: “Lorna’s talent partnered with our quality-made protective clothing has resulted in an exclusive for one of the world’s biggest fashion stages – something that, as a manufacturer, we could never have envisioned.

“Innovation and sustainability have always been part of the Globus DNA and Lorna’s Chemmaster dress certainly embodies that approach. With Lorna’s incredible eye for design, the opportunities are endless in terms of future prospects and we’re proud to be supporting her with her career endeavours.”

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