It’s a widely acknowledged fact in the industry, that the line up of your front row during London Fashion Week, determines your priorities, position and press reputation. From where you seat influencers and to which famous faces show up, it’s an indication of how the industry regards your work and creative direction.

During London Fashion Week, Richard Quinn, the designer that skyrocketed to fame after the Queen sat front row, took a new approach. With high expectations following his AW18 show, Quinn used his front row to positively protest against the current governments policies regarding changes to fashion in education.

"At a time when real damage is occurring to arts education, I want to point to how substantially its creative power lights the path to our future. Celebrating the community I come from is important to me, and thanking British art education for the fact that I am business today."

Richard Quinn, British Designer

The educational reforms have caused widespread concern amongst the industry and higher education professionals. We caught up with Louise Pickles, Course Leader and Co-Ordinator of Fashion at Bath Spa University to find out more about what these changes mean for university students and those hoping to go into creative industries.

“At secondary schools there is an increased emphasis on core academic subjects, this alongside funding pressures are causing schools to cut back on resources for creative subjects including art, music, drama, and textiles. Even some primary schools are being encouraged to focus on the more core academic subjects. Around the world British arts education has been envied; we are in danger of losing this, and losing a generation of young people who are not being introduced to arts based subjects, creativity and creative thinking. 

This is something I and many others feel very strongly about - I benefited hugely form a state school education that included art, needlework, music, ceramics and drama; if I had not experienced these subjects at secondary school I would not have gone on to study Fashion Design and have a successful 23-year career in the fashion industry before starting a Fashion Design degree course for Bath Spa University.

Richard Quinn has set a great example and garnered more press for the plight of arts education in secondary schools highlighting the 34% drop in arts education between 2010 and 2018.

The Fashion industry is worth 1.2 billion pounds to the UK economy, fashion alongside other creative industries will be in jeopardy if something isn't done to address the imbalance of core academic subjects alongside essential creative arts based subjects. Young people deserve a well-rounded education.”

Louise Pickles, Course Leader and Co-Ordinator of Fashion at Bath Spa University

Here at Graduate Fashion Week, we’re determined that all students from school age through to university, feel supported and encouraged.

What do you think about the recent changes? We want to hear from you! Let us know in the comments.

Words by Annabel Waterhouse - Biggins