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Alexander McQueen donates fabric to Central Saint Martins and University of Westminster London Fashion Week graduate shows


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Alexander McQueen has established a new scheme which will redirect the brand’s surplus house fabrics to international fashion students and institutions across the UK. 

The brand’s Creative Director Sarah Burton was inspired to start the initiative after holding talks and workshops with students at the Alexander McQueen store.

“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,” Burton commented. “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.”

The British fashion house introduced its series of open access installations at its Bond Street store in January 2019. The first installation, Unlocking Stories, showcased the workmanship which goes into five select pieces from the brand’s spring/summer 2019 collection.

The Roses exhibition (Tim Beddow)

So popular was Unlocking Stories that the brand then curated its latest exhibit, Roses, which includes archival pieces from Lee McQueen’s time at the brand.

The brand’s first activation under its new discarded fabric initiative is this evening. Many of the fabrics used in the Central Saint Martins and University of Westminster graduate shows have been donated by McQueen.

One such graduate showcasing his designs tonight is University of Westminster student Steven Stokey-Dayley, who has designed his pieces using discarded fabric from the brand. 

“You go into studying fashion fantasising about your final collection, but you have no idea what it’s going to cost. It’s only when you’re two years deep into it that you suddenly realise that people are spending £10,000 to £15,000 on their shows,” mused Stokey-Daley, ahead of tonight’s showcase.

The ‘Marlowe’ wool tattersall check raglan trench coat has draped belted sleeves (Steven Stokey-Dayley)

For Burton though, who’s helmed the brand since Lee McQueen’s death in 2010, it seemed a no-brainer to donate these surplus materials, as the brand has “never thrown anything away.”

“The ethos at Alexander McQueen means that everything we use in researching and designing collections has always been archived and stored”, Burton noted. 

Alexander McQueen was founded by Lee Alexander McQueen in 1992 and after Lee’s death in 2010, Burton was promoted from Head of Design for womenswear to Creative Director, a role which she has occupied ever since.

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