Bethany Williams SS‘21 is bold, beautiful + all our children
We are in an era of change and like greenwashing there are some fashion brands that are slapping VOTE or something like #bethechange onto a t-shirt and call it a day. Not so, for Bethany Williams. I have been impressed with how consistently she weaves her values into her work and has done this from day one. And what she values is people.
London Fashion Week says it like this:
”Through collaboration with communities and charities she strives to create collections embedded with real stories and hope to have a positive impact in the social space we engage with. Each garment is made from recycled and organic materials and made in the UK, working along social projects and local manufacturers on the production. Bethany Williams provides an alternative system for fashion production, as we believe fashions reflection upon the world can create positive change. In 2019 Bethany was awarded with The Queen Elizabeth the Second Award, was selected as Emerging Menswear Designer at the Fashion Awards, and was a finalist for the LVMH award.”
No small thing, all that! For her current collection she continues collaborating with The Magpie Project, a Newham-based charity that works with children and mothers who are homeless or at risk of homelessness – 80% of whom have no recourse to public funds (NRPF), and to whom she consistently donates 20% of her proceeds. They have supported over 400 mothers and 500 children in the past two years. Women and children who have become invisible to an unaware or uncaring society.
She had the mothers and children draw one anothers portraits and these were translated into images on the clothing with the help of her friend Melissa Kitty Jaram. Then a photoshoot of the participants wearing the garments by photographer Ruth Ossai completed the process and a gallery of images was the final presentation. These images reflect the joy and love for family and the collection is the first childrenswear designed by Bethany.
Interweaving the human element into business is just the way it is for Williams and one hopes that it serves as a roadmap for future designers.