You may well have missed it, but a digital London Fashion Week happened this weekend.
While the majority of designers skipped the event this time (let’s hope they all have big exciting runway-shaped things planned for September), there were a few highlights on the pared-back schedule.
One of which was London’s sustainability poster girl Bethany Williams’ latest collection, All Our Stories.
Williams is not your average fashion designer. She’s a humanitarian with a conscience who’s genuinely trying to effect positive social change through her craft. From jersey pieces created through Making for Change, a fashion training and manufacturing project established in 2014 at HM Prison Downview, to buttons made with the Manx Workshop for the Disabled on the Isle of Man, she’s been committed to effecting radical social change through partnering with different charities each season since she launched her label in 2017.
The collection she dropped on Saturday was no exception. Continuing her work with The Magpie Project, a charity that supports women and children who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, the latest designs take inspiration from a series of storytelling workshops that artist Melissa Kitty Jarram ran with the Magpie families, in which she created illustrations for the personal narratives they shared. The collection focuses on five main storylines shared by the families of the Magpie Project, as well as Williams’ own childhood story.
“What we noticed through the story-telling workshops, was that the moral in each story always came back to kindness, care and respect for one another and how these traits, whilst important in childhood, have just as much meaning in adult life,” said Williams, who has also committed to run a workshop series with the Magpie Project, to ensure the families stories are amplified and shared.
The clothes themselves took inspiration from the garment archives of the V&A Museum of Childhood, and most notable among them is Williams’ first tailoring; a suit inspired by a historical children’s skeleton suit from the 1800s.
Williams once again worked with the UK-based social manufacturing partner Making Change to create the garments, and for the first time used donations of deadstock Merino wool from luxury brand Ermenegildo Zegna, which was then printed with eco-friendly inks in Peckham. All the knitwear was made through a collaboration with social cooperatives Mending for Good and Manusa, and uses wool industry waste sample swatches, crocheted together with organic bio wool.
Mood-boosting colourful knits sit alongside svelte white unisex suiting and there are even two corsets created with Welsh designer Rosie Evans using cut-offs from the collection production and featuring boning made from fruit packaging waste.
For anyone who got a lockdown puppy, the little patchwork puppy puffer jackets are a must.
As ever, 20 per cent of the profits from the collection will go to The Magpie Project via The Bethany Williams Benevolent Fund. To donate to the fund visit justgiving.com/magpieproject