Talent, especially creative talent, isn't derivative of your financial or class background, and yet recent government budgets and cuts - ones that have been swirling around the playground for at least the last decade - have made it even harder for working-class children to consider the creative industries as worth pursuing. By increasingly choosing to limit the funding given to schools' art departments while cutting some art subjects altogether (yes, we're talking about art history), interest in the creative field has unfortunately dropped on a mass scale. Alas, the Alexander McQueen team are here to help.
Directly inspired by Alexander McQueen's roots being firmly planted in East London, the British fashion house, led by creative director Sarah Burton, have announced their support for A Team Arts Education. This is a community youth arts project, located in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, aka McQueen's home turf which most recently formed the backdrop to the brand's S/S 21 campaign set on the banks of the Thames.
Designed to support the aspirations of young people who wish to enter arts and design careers, the A Team Arts Education community acts as a catalyst for progress and attainment in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets; known to be one of the fastest-growing, youngest and most diverse populations in the UK.
Understanding this, while also noting the particular importance of this partnership being East London-based, Burton said in a statement:
'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. At a time when UK arts education is narrowing and being cut, and young people are under pressure, we're inspired and humbled to be able to join with A Team Arts Education in their exceptional grass-roots work in providing fashion, textiles and art and design programmes.'
This isn't the first time that the Alexander McQueen house have pledged to help the creatives of tomorrow. Over the years, various schemes such as their fabric donation scheme - helping fashion students far and wide - and the Sarabande Foundation, have served as essential foundations for the next generation of designers and creatives alike. While other Alexander McQueen educational schemes connect with colleges and university students nationally, the association with A Team Arts Education forges a practical link with younger people locally through its dynamic and free art-led school holiday and Saturday programmes.
Acknowledging the importance of an arts-led education in a post-pandemic world, Sarbjit Natt, director of A Team Arts Education, said in a statement:
'At a time when schools and local authorities are reducing their arts budgets and provision, we still need the arts to help bring about a positive recovery and come together after the COVID-19 pandemic. Working with Alexander McQueen will provide inspiration, hope and opportunities to an area that has established links to the fashion and textiles industries that are now hidden through layers of history and a changing urban landscape. The collaboration will help the arts to flourish in a positive way for young people and the wider community of East London.'
Over the coming year, Alexander McQueen will continue their financial support for A Team Arts Education, extending the workshops and classes that began as a pilot during 2020. Live experiences with McQueen's design, textile and embroidery professionals will be structured as part of 'The Explore Programme', the A Teams Arts Education's introduction to fashion, textiles and art and design pathways.
Although the current UK Government may be keen on slashing cuts to the art sector whenever they like, wherever they like, the team at Alexander McQueen are ready to offer their full support to those in boroughs who need it most, striving to make the creative sectors more diverse and accessible in the face of adversity.