For Bethany Williams, community is at the heart of every design. Continually providing counteractivity to excessive supply chains, the London-based designer works with local communities and upcycled materials, and partners with charities to create politically-charged collections. Of course, it will come as no surprise that her SS/22 collection made another yet important, socio-economic statement – presented during a virtual London Fashion Week on 12 June
Debuting the lookbook via a short film captured by Olivia Lifungula, “All Our Stories” went beyond the fabric of each piece and instead presented a multi-dimensional project which collaborated with The Magpie Project. The Magpie Project is a charity supporting mothers and children under five who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Marking her continued work with the grassroots organisation, 20% of the profits from this collection will be donated to the charity.
In a kin to this, the lookbook drew on a sentimental narrative of family and what it means to pass down intergenerational stories of love and experiences. Narrated through the spoken poetry of Eno Mfon, who collaborated with the mothers and children in storytelling workshops, the piece forms a positive tale of ‘kindness, care, and respect for one another’ – with the film becoming a platform for the Magpie families to be directly heard.
Translating this message into its visual medium, artist Melissa Kitty Jarram formed a series of cheerful and vibrant prints which depicted the stories shared. Sharpened by the clean lines of classic tailoring and box dresses, Bethany Williams displayed both joyous and childlike creative freedom, and a mature, parent-like restraint.
Alongside this, the collection also looked to the tactile nostalgia of patchwork-style knitwear, with pieces created from recycled fibres in partnership with sustainability-led platform Mending For Good. Williams’ knitwear had been consciously created by people from various backgrounds, who specialise in hand-techniques such as crochet and embroidery.
Speaking of the collection, Williams said: “This is the first collection we’ve done which is fully socially produced, from the woven pieces and the knits, all the way through to how they’re stitched”.
WATCH THE COLLECTION’S FILM PRESENTATION BELOW.