Central Saint Martins

If you care about fashion, this name will pop up every now and again, or way more often than that… 

A few weeks ago, I made a statement that I wanted to do something to help me learn more about fashion designers. One thing that constantly comes up is where these designers learnt their craft and where they developed their style. One college in particular keeps cropping up whenever I do my research. 

Central Saint Martins (CSM) is acknowledged for being the World’s top fashion and arts university. It’s been credited with this for literally as long as I can remember and after decades of being at the top, it still hasn’t lost its edge. 

Based in London, and a constituent college of the University of the Arts London (UAL), it has attracted and produced many creative geniuses, notably Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Zac Posen and MIA. 

The college is actually a merger of four colleges, The first established institute was Saint Martins School of Art in 1854. The highlight of this school was known to be the sculpting department. In 1896, Central School of Art and Design was established as a school of fine art and design. In 1963, the Drama Centre London was founded, and finally. 1910 saw the Byam Shaw School of Art being founded, which was a school of drawing and painting. 

All of these institutes finally merged together in 1989, to form Central Saint Martins, the fabulous college as we know it. Because of the unification of different schools, it was able to specialise in basically all forms of art, organising their study programs between acting, art, design, fashion, graphics, and jewellery and textiles. CSM also offered foundation courses, which is what I did in my year there. 

What’s great about CSM is that it offers so much, so many options, so many creative fields to embark on. Their selection process is daunting — when  I applied, I didn’t even get an interview, they were entirely judging me based on a short personal statement and my portfolio. This terrified me, as I felt like I needed to be there to explain my art for them to “get it”. 

Year after year, they seem to churn out talent after talent. I think it’s because they force students to push the limits, to think outside of the box. The amount of research I had to do for one year of a foundation course would have filled 3 massive files. It was all about the process of starting with something and exploring as much of it as possible. 

The links CSM has with other institutes is also massive pro point for artists and designers choosing to study there. And because of their vast list of alumni, working in industry is far more accessible.  

I’m sure the university will, and hope it will, continue to nurture creativity. 

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