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via Instagram (@fashion_textiles_csm_fad)

Central Saint Martins students are making scrubs for NHS workers

The garment patterns will soon be made available on the CSM website, meaning anyone with sewing skills can get involved

The outbreak of the coronavirus has instilled a poignant sense of community in many. We may be isolating alone, but it doesn’t mean we aren’t connecting in powerful ways: be it through social media, online initiatives, or even Saturday nights spent with friends halfway across the world via Houseparty. 

Notably, the fashion industry has stepped up in these trying times, with countless designers and labels utilisiing their platform to join the fight against COVID-19.

From established luxury fashion houses donating money through to student designers making DIY face masks, the latest initiative comes via Central Saint Martins' Fashion and Textiles department, which has announced its plan to make non-surgical scrubs for the NHS

Revealed through an Instagram post, in the form of a picture showing the text ‘CSM 💙NHS’, the caption explained: “We are asking our students (& the public) to get involved and make scrubs for the NHS…. pattern and instructions coming to you all.”

With the patterns available for anyone to download, the idea came into being after Oonagh O’Hagan, the Curriculum Leader in Fashion & Textiles, was speaking to a consultant for the NHS who said they were short of scrubs. “I thought she might need visors or masks,” O’Hagan explains, “but when she clarified their needs I thought our students would be able to help.” 

“This project is as much about the wellbeing of the maker as the wearer. It’s good to find a way to help when you may feel helpless” – Oonagh O’Hagan

Initially asking her students to put the ‘CSM 💙NHS’ post on their Instagram, O’Hagan said soon after they began receiving messages from “lots of people wanting to take part”. Now, with a brief on how to design these scrubs being put together by another CSM staff member, Chris Kelly, the pattern will be available to download on the Central Saint Martins website and the course's own Instagram page. 

Made alongside Jo Simpson, who is also Curriculum Leader in Fashion & Textiles at CSM, the scrubs will be fitted with a small tag of what has now become the initiative’s slogan: CSM 💙NHS. “The more I thought about it the more I thought what an intimate way of thanking someone you don’t know,” explains O’Hagan. “That’s where the idea of including the ‘message’ in or on the garment came from too.”

Also in discussion with CSM Alumni Phoebe English on a potential collaboration with a group she is part of called ‘Emergency Designer Network’ – which will see a group of designers creating scrubs on a more industrial scale – the medical garments will hopefully be delivered to NHS workers through monitored hospital drop offs. 

Central Saint Martins has, of course, also been affected by the pandemic. With many graduate shows being cancelled and students now entering an uncertain fashion landscape, O’Hagan explains this project is also designed to help the CSM students themselves. “We have incredible students all around the world who we are continuing to teach and support in every way we can,” he says. “In fact, this project is as much about the wellbeing of the maker as the wearer. It’s good to find a way to help when you may feel helpless.”