The designer put students from his old schools on the FROW, as part of a statement on government cuts to UK arts education
Last season at London Fashion Week, things took a turn for the surreal when Her Majesty the Queen rolled up to 180 The Strand and proceeded to make her way into Richard Quinn’s AW18 show, where she sat FROW (obvs) next to Anna Wintour. Today at his LFW presentation, though, she was nowhere to be seen – instead, pupils from the designer’s former schools took the best seats in the house.
According to the show’s press notes, there has been a 34% drop in arts GCSE entries between 2010 and 2018, with arts-focused subjects severely under threat thanks to government cuts (s/o to Theresa May and her Tory cronies, you’re doing amazing sweeties!), and the students’ inclusion in the event was to highlight that.
“At a time when real damage is occurring to arts education in the UK, I want to point to how substantially its creative power lights the path to our future,” said Quinn. “It’s important to me to celebrate the community I come from, and thank the British education system for the fact I am in business today.” Guests included students from Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School, St Thomas More Catholic Comprehensive, and Central Saint Martins.
The collection itself started off with Quinn’s now-signature morphsuit looks, which models wore under huge, dramatic ruffled dresses and structured trapeze coats in floral prints. As they made their way around the catwalk, the London Philharmonic Orchestra played Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful” and lightning flashed up on the walls. So far, so dramatic. But what did the students make of what was, for many, their first ever fashion show?
“It made me think maybe I want a job in fashion one day. Or I might still be a teacher, I don’t know” – Amy, St Thomas More Comprehensive
“It was amazing! I’m speechless, it was so good. I liked all the looks,” said Amy from St Thomas More Comprehensive. “It made me think maybe I want a job in fashion one day. Or I might still be a teacher, I don’t know.”
Students Sophia and Ellen loved the morphsuits “because they looked like mannequins, they were really cool,” while another, Tom, explained that, although he liked the show, hyped streetwear designers were more his thing: “I thought it was so cool, but actually I really like Supreme and stuff like that.” Tom went on to explain he wasn’t thinking about going into fashion when he finishes school, “but I think I would quite like to be a graphic designer.”
Charlotte Collins, though, was particularly enthusiastic: “I loved the shapes and the colours,” she explained. “It was quite a big deal because he went to our school when he was younger. I want to work in fashion too – I’d love to be the editor of a magazine, so it was quite inspiring.” A new Jefferson Hack in the making? Watch this space.