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Alexander McQueen
Alexander McQueen

Why McQueen has to be on our £20 note

72 per cent of Dazed readers want to see the fashion iconoclast on the money – the designer's inspiring legacy and open sexuality make him the only choice

The Bank of England has opened the decision to the public – which British visual artist should grace the new £20 note? The bank's governor Mark Carney urged the people to look beyond "the most famous and the most obvious", to those who exist about of a traditional collective consciousness.

We nominated five British radicals who have made an immense impact on this country's cultural DNA and asked you to vote for who you'd like to see splashed all over the cash. Overwhelmingly our readers voted for Alexander McQueen, Britain's most revolutionary fashion designer, a person who didn't just change the fashion landscape of this country, but the world's. He was an internationally renowned revolutionary whose influence transcended fashion.

It would appear that frontrunners for the prestigious posthumous prize are actually just "the most famous and the most obvious". 18th century painters William Hogarth and Turner are early favourites, along with William Blake. You're all right, it should be McQueen.

The designer's artistic legacy remains as relevant and fascinating as ever, as the wildly successful Savage Beauty exhibition proves. His creative life aside, McQueen was openly gay. Never before has an openly gay person appeared on a British bank note. Ours is a world of increasing tolerance, but the UK's recent history isn't too kind on gay rights. Just over 60 years ago we chemically castrated Alan Turing, a man who'd just helped us defeat the Nazis.

This is an opportunity for our country to celebrate McQueen's life and make a statement. Put a gay man's face on paper that people see every day, make people say "who is that?" and let them find out.

And who gives a shit about the competition anyway? McQueen's work remains completely relevant, his bold, uninhibited styles paving a path for a new generation of experimentation. It would be so boring if an 18th century painter got the nod for the note. The designer's legacy is a modern, contemporary vision that parallels with Britain's idea of itself as a forward thinking country.

Alexander McQueen dropped out of school at 16, a working class boy who found his way on Savile Row and fought for his whole life to realise his dreams. The powers that be consistently extol the virtues of "hard working people", so if the bank wants to recognise the work and life of any British visual artist, then it should be his.