Pass the baton

Alexander McQueen’s unused fabric scheme is supporting young designers
Fashion | 14 February 2020
Text Finn Blythe

Part of Steven Stokey-Dayley’s Westminster show.

Top image: Part of Steven Stokey-Dayley Westminster show.

Sarah Burton’s drive to support young designers is everywhere at Alexander McQueen. Not only has she opened an in-store space dedicated to staging educational events and workshops for students, but as part of the Roses exhibition that opened last year, she personally led masterclasses on patternmaking and couture technique workshops.

The latest extension of her education programme comes with a new system that redirects surplus house fabrics to students at UK fashion schools for use in their collections.


“The ethos at Alexander McQueen means that everything we use in researching and designing collections has always been archived and stored,” says Burton. “We’ve never thrown anything away.”

These partnerships with fashion departments at Central Saint Martins and University of Westminster have now yielded their first fruit, with fabrics donated by the brand set to make an appearance in graduate collections this evening. For Burton, whose SS19 collection for McQueen featured the work of CSM students, the support has come full circle.

“It’s inspired all of us, and reminded me of being a student, and how tough it is when you can’t afford to buy fabric for your final collection” says Sarah Burton. “I was so lucky because when I first worked at McQueen, Lee helped me source fabrics for my final collection. It’s even harder today, and at a time when we all feel precious resources must be properly used.”

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