Alexander McQueen pictured in 2003 / Getty

The Bank of England is looking for an artistic visionary to appear on the new note - could McQueen fit the bill?

In the annals of British fashion history, Lee Alexander McQueen (1969-2010) is the only designer who fully warrants a place on the reverse of a banknote.

The irony of that wouldn’t be lost on McQueen himself, whose penury as a young designer was such that he created clothes from fabric stolen from flatmates, or industrial plastic found in skips; he set up business under his middle name, Alexander, because he was still signing on to receive unemployment benefit.

So why does McQueen deserve prime position on a crisp new twenty? Because he was a brave, uncompromising pioneer in design; because his clothes were engineered with a precision and invention that put his contemporaries to shame; because he led a French haute couture house to international critical acclaim and commercial success.


His output has profoundly influenced successive generations of designers. He is the blueprint others wish to emulate. If Mark Carney want to surrender the note to those Brits who continue to inspire today, McQueen is a sure bet.