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Central Saint Martins

Paper maquette

From drawing class to Alexander McQueen catwalk

Written by Teleri Lloyd-Jones
Published date 24 October 2019

MA Fashion students collaborate on a sketch which becomes a garment in Alexander McQueen’s SS20 collection

Woman walking down catwalk
Alexander McQueen SS20 collection (Photo: Armando Grillo Gorunway)

When the McQueen flagship opened, MA Fashion Womenswear Pathway Tutor Julie Verhoeven brought students to its archive and exhibition space to experience a drawing class in situ. The students gathered around to sketch an Ophelia dress and respond to Verhoeven’s exercises. She challenged them to work in different ways, taping charcoal to the ends of paintbrushes, working with their non-dominant hand or sketching across each other’s pages.

Inspired by the resulting collective sketch formed as though one continuous line, the McQueen team transformed it into an embroidered garment for its SS20 collection. Vogue shared the story of the particular dress with Sarah Burton, BA Fashion alum and Creative Director of Alexander McQueen, outlining the process to transform sketches into the finished garment.

“The class was about not drawing from our head but experiencing a freedom in the process. When you’re working so much you can forget to be free, to take risks and to fail. So, it was opening up our minds to that.

Drawing is so important. It reinstates you as a creative person, artistically. Fashion can sometimes feel product-based, it’s a reminder that you’re not a product-driver but you’re creative. It reminds you of your participation and your agency.

This experience was entirely orchestrated by Julie and the outcome is a testament to her teaching. It is about community and working collectively and I feel like it’s a celebration of her, we are just a part of that.”
Paolo Carzana, MA Fashion student

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Models wearing brightly coloured clothes
Dominic-Afsheen Akhavan-Moossavi, BA Fashion Design: Menswear