Alexander McQueen
Credit: Clémentine Schneidermann

For Alexander McQueen Autumn/Winter 2020, creative director Sarah Burton sought out inspiration from the crafts, poetry and literature of South Wales. Inspired by this experience the designer joined forces with Charlotte James and Clémentine Schneidermann of Ffasiwn Stiwdio – a creative collaboration with school-age people – to create a series of immersive fashion, photography and embroidery workshops. This month, Alexander McQueen published a book to document the entire project which realises the next generation of creatives.

Courtesy of Alexander McQueen
Courtesy of Alexander McQueen

Conceptualised by James and Schneidermann together with the McQueen team and coordinated by youth worker, Michelle Hurter at Blaina Community Centre, the Alexander McQueen project started in June 2020. Fashion, customisation and photography workshops were built and designed to offer hands-on experiences of the ways to make clothes and images. Over months of on-off restrictions, members of the McQueen team travelled to collaborate with the group of 12 to 17-year-olds in Covid-secure sessions and continued remotely when they couldn’t.

Credit: Clémentine Schneidermann

“We’ve all been inspired by the experience of being able to make a practical connection with this collaboration with young people in Wales,” Burton said. “Community values and the belief in offering creative opportunities to young people are at the heart of what we believe at Alexander McQueen, and this record of what we all learned together last year is a testament to what transformative things can happen everywhere when empowering equal access to creative ideas.”

The result saw a culmination of sketches, research with their families, writing, embroidery, photographs and fittings conducted with the McQueen atelier which formed a  four-day location shoot. Locations in Wales such as Brynmawr, Abertillery Park, Blaina, Keeper’s Pond Blaenavon and Ogmore-by-Sea provided the backdrop.

The collaborative venture continues Burton’s ongoing commitment to education with the Alexander McQueen brand. The endeavour was established in 2019 and includes open-access installations and study programmes which are extended to school-age, college and university students across the UK, and a scheme to donate and redistribute left-over materials for student collections.

Credit: Clémentine Schneidermann
Credit: Clémentine Schneidermann

“To us, fashion has never been a goal in itself, but more an excuse to generate ideas and opportunities,” Schneidermann added. “Our main focus has always been photography and creative workshops in the broadest sense. We try to raise an awareness, and sense of familiarity with creative
skills and art in general through the workshops and the photography shoots.”

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