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Building A Fashion Collection With Community – London, United Kingdom

“I wanted to make work that was meaningful and can help people. I love taking something that is disregarded and making it into something beautiful with my hands. I didn’t feel that there was a brand that was young and vibrant with cool clothing but also one that was organic or recycled and was supporting people,” said Bethany Williams, a British designer who build fashion collection with community, to  The Guardian back in 2018.

As a fashion designer, Bethany Williams always focuses on fashion sustainability and produced her clothing line with communities. She was 2019 winner of Queen Elizabeth II award for British Design presented by the Duchess of Cornwal – an award in recognition of young designers who excel in either sustainable practices or community engagement as informed in Forbes earlier this year.

Bethany has been doing collaboration with The MagPie Project UK. Bethany investigates their relationship to future generations, through free online workshops and a pop-up installation in All Our Children DIY Project started on 22 April until 20 September where they will culminate in the raising of a new flag above Somerset House alongside a pop-up installation, launching Bethany’s new fashion collection.

Back in January 2020 where Bethany presented her Autumn/Winter 2020 unisex fashion collection with a poem written to reflect the experiences of of mothers in the MagPie Project, where they support vulnerably housed women and young children in Newham. “I want to speak out on behalf of these women through my collection,” said Bethany during an interview with British Vogue magazine earlier this year.

Bethany Williams also formed the Emergency Designer Network (EDN) together with Holly Fulton and Phoebe English, galvanising local garment production to offer scrubs for hospitals alongside Cozette McCreery. At this moment EDN is looking for people who can support their endeavour. They need skilled sewers with sample machinist or garment industry background, manufacturers with sewing capabilities as well as donations – however small – to help fund the purchase of raw materials (NHS-certified fabrics, webbing, thread, etc). Go to Fundraiser by Cozette McCreery to donate.

To introduce: EDN activity and community - Gracie D'Silva from Leeds Arts Uni. Image by EDN. To introduce: EDN & FashMash collaboration for community. Image by EDN.

For the textiles of her collections, Bethany uses recycled or organic materials from various sources: wool from Wool and the Gang, a company that offers renewable, biodegradable and dead stock yarns – denim in her collection is sourced from Chris Carney Collections, a recycling and sorting facility and it’s reconstituted for Bethany’s designs.

To introduce: Olly Years wearing Bethany Williams' knitwear & Wolf and The Gang's yarns. Image by Bethany Williams. To introduce: Bethany Williams' jeanswear. Image by Bethany Williams.

According to British Vogue, her clothings support a wealth of other initiatives. The jersey pieces are created through Making For Change, a training and manufacturing project established in 2014 in HM Prison Downview where 5 percents of the prison population are females with non-violent offenses and short prison sentences. The production. The buttons are made in Manx Workshop for the Disabled on the Isle of Man. The textile weaving takes place in San Patrignano, a long term addiction rehabilitation centre in Italy.

Bethany was interviewed by Dazed magazine on her 2016 MA graduation project in London College Of Fashion, said: “My family are very creative, caring and concerned about people and the environment, which has had a massive influence on how I view the world and define my practice. I don’t want to just comment on a community, I want to give people a helping hand by working with them to create profit for connected charities. I hope to create collections embedded with real people and hope to cause a real effect in the social space we engage with.”


For more information about Bethany Williams and EDN:

Bethany Williams: Website – Instagram @bethany_williams_london.

Emergency Design Network: Website – Instagram @emergencydesignernetwork.

Source: ALL OUR CHILDREN: POP-UP INSTALLATION — ‍The Rise Of Upcycling: Five Brands Leading The Way At London Men’s Fashion Week 2020 — Emergency Design Network Official Website — San Patrignano – The rehabilitation method — Bethany Williams speaks to us about her collection ‘Breadline’, partnering with Tesco and Foodbank and how fashion can be used to comment on social and environmental issues.