#CSMlovesNHS: How Central Saint Martins students and staff are helping the NHS

As seen on Fashion Roundtable.

Tutor Chris Kelly making scrubs photographed by Victor Hugo Lopez Borges

Fashion can be divided into two opposing sides— perhaps the side I am so versed at covering is the industry’s lack of regard for its environmental impact and workers. Arcadia group in particular has shown huge neglect for employees by cancelling up to £100m of clothing orders worldwide, causing wide-spread anguish and putting workers in some of our poorest countries under severe risk. However, it’s been refreshing to see many groups like LVMH Maisons publicly joining the battle against Covid-19. Along with auctions to aid the hardest-hit nursing homes and some proceeds from Loewe’s sales going towards educational programmes for disadvantaged young people in Spain, the fashion conglomerate has also sponsored Central Saint Martins’s latest project #CSMlovesNHS.

With lockdown easing and the number of cases dropping across Great Britain, there’s a false sense of security. While many local businesses have started opening again, the NHS is still overrun and urgently needing our help. The Central Saint Martins Foundation team have been working tirelessly to create vital scrubs for the NHS, and are inviting anyone with the time and resources to get involved.

As the scrubs will need to be washed at 60 degrees or more, cotton is the preferred fabric. If you’re concerned that you may not have the fabric at home— old sheets, duvets or even men’s work shirts will work perfectly. With the exception of black and white, they’ve asked for the scrubs to be as colourful as possible and are encouraging motivational messages to empower staff and patients alike. Oonagh O’Hagan, who is part of the team implementing this project, explains that because the fabrics and prints have been so unique and joyful, Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital are now looking to continue with this project in the longer term. The team are also in discussions with other hospitals to see if this could be of interest moving forward. After having two siblings in children’s hospitals for long-stints growing up, I can really see the benefit to this initiative – bringing some lightness to a situation, that would otherwise feel extremely foreign, can only be a good thing. So, thank you CSM for yet another wonderful project and a massive thank you from us if you’ll be donating your time or duvets! 

Doctors at Royal Surrey Hospital wearing CSM scrubs

How to make your scrubs

Please follow the simple sewing patterns below, and feel free to add a print, embroidery, tag or label with your name and a supportive statement. This is where your creativity can come into play. Please don't include any catches or buttons that could get caught or be dangerous.

You can choose to create a set of small, medium or large scrubs by following the instructions in the making guide. Use old wallpaper, newspaper, wrapping paper or A4 paper stuck together to make the pattern, before you start sewing. The grid should be scaled to equal 10cm x 10cm squares.

Follow the links below:

Label and Message Guide (PDF 11.5MB)

Scrubs Top Pattern Making Guide (PDF 3.8MB)

Scrubs Trouser Pattern Making Guide (PDF 3MB)

Scrubs: Sewing & Construction Guide (PDF 6.9MB)

Share your scrubs online

For free online tutorials and Q&A, follow the Instagram account @fashion_textiles_csm_fad, and remember to upload images to social media documenting your designing and making using the hashtag #CSMlovesNHS

Sending your scrubs

Once you have finished your scrubs, please contact o.ohagan@csm.arts.ac.uk for information on where to send them.

How can I get involved if I can't sew?

Due to a shortage of material, we're looking for cotton or poly cotton duvet covers and bedsheets which will be transformed into much needed scrubs by our collaborators, the North & East London Sewers

If you have spare material, please send it to the following address:

The Duvet Day Drop 4 NHS Scrubs

FAO Anna Kidd

North & East London Sewers

22 Briggeford Close E5 8RE

Please wash the duvet covers at +60 degrees in non-biological detergent before you send them. Please do not send your fabrics if you or anyone in your household has been ill within the last 14 days.