Each season sustainability becomes more of a talking point at fashion week but whereas some have in the past used it as a gimmick Bethany Williams is committed to creating clothes that benefit not only the environment but also the social welfare of those involved in the production. And thank god for her, it’s only a shame that more designers aren’t as committed as Williams.
In past seasons Williams has worked with food banks to create new fabrics and raise awareness of the versatility of sustainability, and last season she teamed up with the Quaker Homeless Action charity library to give books to people that don’t have a fixed address – a deal breaker for borrowing books from the library otherwise. Williams production too takes into account her altruistic nature – she works with LCF’s ‘Making For Change’ programme which supports the training of women in Downview Prison. It’s not a stretch to say that Williams is probably the most selfless designer working in London today.
For AW19 this ethos is still front and centre of Williams. collection. Titled ‘Adelaide House’ the designer worked in collaboration with Adelaide House, a women’s shelter in Liverpool that provides a safe haven for women’s being rehabilitated post prison. Fabric has been created using waste product from Liverpool’s The Echo Newspaper and illustrator Giorgia Chiarion has even illustrated some of these women onto the collection itself, while 20% of profits from the collection will go directly towards continuing to support Adelaide House.
Production has again been aided by the women of Downview Prison as well as the rehabilitation centre San Patrignano in Italy with whom Williams also works. For this season the oversized knitwear has been made in collaboration with Wool and the Gang’s recycled wool with even Williams’ own mum lending a hand to knit the samples. The denim too is unpicked from old garments before being reconstituted and hand printed into new pieces – this time colourful patchwork jeans and matching boxy jackets or a white denim jumpsuit illustrated with Chiarion’s imagery. A testament to the creativity and altruism of the designer, it’s another collection that marks Williams out as a worthy and important designer making a much needed statement in not just the British fashion industry, but in the country as a whole.