Alexander McQueen is helping London students to get started on a career in art and design

·2-min read
Photo credit: David Burton
Photo credit: David Burton

Alexander McQueen is helping young creative students in East London to flourish through its latest philanthropic project. The British fashion house is lending its support to A Team Arts Education, a community youth organisation based in Tower Hamlets.

The centre, which recently lost government support, teaches printing, painting and embroidery - among other skills and crafts - with the aim of helping young people who don't have access to the arts to get started on a career path that's focused on creativity and design.

"We want to team up with them to do weekend and after-school classes, and help people to get a portfolio together," explains Alexander McQueen creative director Sarah Burton. "It feels especially important for us to be able to take part in supporting young people from the East End of London, where Lee Alexander McQueen grew up. At this house we all know that talent comes from everywhere, irrespective of background.

Photo credit: Liam Leslie
Photo credit: Liam Leslie

Burton, who has been the brand’s creative director for the past decade, has always taken a very inclusive, democratic approach to her work - particularly in encouraging young students to discover the fashion industry. The top floor of the McQueen Bond Street store is an 'experiential space' dedicated to fostering creativity, where workshops covering everything from pattern-cutting to fashion history and communications are held for schools and colleges.

"It’s vital that people have access to creativity, especially children," Burton tells us. "So much of it has been taken away from schools, and people don’t see it as leading to a career. But fashion is a huge industry in this country. It’s an amazing melting pot. And if you’re really brilliant with computers, or good at maths, you could come and work here. I want to reach out to younger children and say that this is a possibility. Even if you don’t want to do this job, I think music and creativity are so important for your soul."

Photo credit: David Burton
Photo credit: David Burton

For the past 10 years, A Team Arts Education has collaborated with Insights at Central Saint Martins - where Burton and Lee McQueen both studied and met - to help students access and progress onto university. The organisation's graduates have gone on to become internationally renowned in fashion, design and art.

Over the next year, Alexander McQueen will support A Team Arts Education financially, as well as through leading workshops and classes. Live experiences with the brand's design, textile and embroidery professionals will be structured as part of ‘The Explore Programme’, the organisation's introduction to fashion, textiles and art and design pathways.

For more information on A Team Arts Education and its workshops and programmes, visit towerhamlets.gov.uk.


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