Alexander McQueen’s Sarabande HQ earmarked for Hackney

The old stables in Hertford Road earmarked for the Sarabande Foundation HQ. Photo Emma Bartholomew.

The old stables in Hertford Road earmarked for the Sarabande Foundation HQ. Photo Emma Bartholomew. - Credit: Archant

The charitable foundation bequeathed millions in the will of leading fashion designer Alexander McQueen wants to convert a listed 19th-century stables into its headquarters.

Model Kate Moss and fashion designer Alexander McQueen arrive for his 'Black' Fashion Show and party

Model Kate Moss and fashion designer Alexander McQueen arrive for his 'Black' Fashion Show and party, to celebrate five years of the American Express Centurion Card, at Earls Court Exhibition Centre in central London. - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima

The 40-year-old Scotsman, who took his own life in February 2010, left the bulk of his £16m fortune in a trust for his Sarabande charity.

The name comes from his spring/summer 2007 collection - famous for including a dress adorned with fresh flowers.

McQueen, who was British Designer of the Year four times and head designer at Givenchy, asked the charity in his will to use the money to fund bursaries or grants for students at Central St Martin’s College, where he himself studied.

David Dorrell, Sarabande’s chief executive officer, has applied for listed building consent to create an office, exhibition space and 15 artists’ studios in the building in the Kingsland basin, behind Hertford Road.

The building is of historic interest as it is a rare example of multi-storey stabling, whose massive scale illustrates how commercial and industrial activity 100 years ago relied on animals, even though steam and electric vehicles were becoming more commonplace.

Kingsland Wharves has been transformed of late, with canalside flats, studios, shops, cafes and restaurants.

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In the application Mr Dorrell explains that Sarabande is still in its infancy and developing its scope, but its broad mission is to identify and assist exceptionally talented individuals, particularly those from low-income backgrounds, to study at centres of excellence.

It says: “While this will be achieved primarily via scholarships and financial help with subsistence, we hope the Sarabande HQ will be home to a mentoring programme that will also be open after engagement with local colleges.”

While studio spaces will be offered to scholars on the programme, they will also try and help others in the area in need of competitively priced studio space, and plan to work with local fashion schools like nearby Hackney Community College.

Mr Dorrell said a strong programme of educational and informal events at the HQ would strengthen their ties to the community.

He said: “We believe that we will be a positive impact within Hackney and will be working with local business and thus will almost immediately bring to bear upon the local economy in a beneficial way.

“On the subject of legacy programmes we intend to strengthen ties between Sarabande and the rest of the world via the programmes at the building one of them will certainly be a connected legacy that will do must to promote Haggerston, Hackney and its institutions and denizens.”

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