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Student’s design chosen for NHS tribute

Press release   •   May 28, 2020 13:45 BST

The illustration by student Bethany Oakey, which was chosen to be part of the Alexander McQueen tribute to the NHS.

An illustration by a Northumbria University fashion student has been chosen by luxury British fashion label Alexander McQueen to appear in a campaign thanking the NHS.

Second year Fashion Design and Marketing student Bethany Oakey decided to take part in the 'Sketch with McQueen' challenge on social media as a way of staying creative while at home during lockdown.

She submitted an illustration of the iconic Rose dress from Alexander McQueen’s Autumn/Winter 2019 collection and was thrilled when she found out it had been selected to appear in an international campaign thanking healthcare workers around the world.

Her design has now appeared on digital display boards in Piccadilly Circus, London, as well as in Milan and New York.

Speaking about the experience, Bethany said: “I’ve always really enjoyed illustrating, so when I saw that the Alexander McQueen Instagram page had put together a series of ‘McQueen creators’ projects to keep people occupied during lockdown, I knew it was the perfect opportunity for me to get creative.

“I was amazed and so grateful that my illustration was one of the few artworks to be picked. When I was first contacted by the Alexander McQueen team, discussing using my illustration as part of the campaign I was speechless, it didn’t seem real at first until I actually saw the images in situ.

“This experience has definitely made me feel more assured in my abilities and has given me a huge confidence boost seeing my artwork in iconic settings such as Piccadilly Circus, London, New York and in Milan.”

In addition to taking part in the Alexander McQueen challenge, Bethany has also been keeping busy by making face masks for family and friends; reusing cotton t-shirts and off-cuts.

As Senior Lecturer Emma Jane Goldsmith explains, this positive attitude towards lockdown is mirrored by Bethany’s fellow students. She said: “Northumbria fashion students across all of our programmes have been keeping busy during lockdown in so many ways, interacting with brands by entering competitions or completing special projects.

“Creating samples and artefacts from objects and materials around the home, virtual museum tours, holidays and online fashion links are providing a form of escapism.

“Our students are not only creative in completing work but in making sure that they are keeping well. They regularly meet for the BBC4 online life drawing, virtual afternoon tea parties, they volunteer and are generally taking care of each other.”

You can view the Piccadilly Circus digital display featuring Bethany's work on the Alexander McQueen Instagram page here.

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