Education, education, education. An entire electoral campaign was built on that premise back in the early Noughties– erroneously, as it turns out.
It's much on my mind for two reasons. Firstly, because we're in the throes of graduate fashion week, showcasing the next, next generation of fashion stars. They're at BA level – but for many designers, that's as far as they can afford to go these days. The second, more melancholy reason, is the death of Professor Louise Wilson last weekend. Wilson was the formidable head of Central Saint Martins' world-renowned MA, whose alumni include Alexander McQueen, Kim Jones of Louis Vuitton, and Christopher Kane. All three were undoubtedly moulded by Wilson's tutelage – as were scores of others. Her influence is everywhere.
The old cynical maxim is that those who can, "do", those who can't, "teach". That certainly wasn't true of Louise Wilson. There was nothing she couldn't do: she could scold, hector and insult to get the best out of her designers-to-be. Wilson was given licence to do that – not just because she made Central Saint Martins' MA one of the best – but because everyone could see how much she cared.
Education feels like something that's been pushed aside in recent political debate, replaced by Euroscepticism and institutionalised xenophobia. But it's vital, especially to fashion. In 2011, Wilson told British Vogue: "At the end of the day I'm a very boring academic… delivering an education." I'd argue that that is the most important thing to "do" of all.