Bethany Williams: Menswear SS20
There’s no one we’d rather see in the closing spot of London Fashion Week Men’s than Bethany Williams. Representative of positive change and an optimistic outlook on what happens to be a pretty sh*tty situation the world is in. Like a cherry on top of a pretty sensational sundae, Bethany Williams’ SS20 show was, against all odds of Mother Nature, the grand finale we expected. Set in the outdoor part of the Garden Museum in Lambeth, the show was meant to be a summer feast but ended up being more of spring shower. And while many would be taken aback by the wet conditions which forced the concept of the show to change, Bethany Williams reconvened and reimagined – and those are things she does best. In the end, the torrential rain wasn’t a negative – it added to the emotional atmosphere of this big moment.
This was Williams’ first show after being awarded with the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design back in February. And after such a big moment, the pressure was obviously high. But instead of trying to reinventing herself or topping her previous success, the designer put her head down and focused on things that matter. People, the world around us, positive impact. Sustainable at the core, in a multitude of ways, the business model Williams introduced with her first collection is as much about great design as it is about creating meaningful changes in the society. This collection was named after a workshop Bethany takes part in at the Spires, a South London-based charity that helps the homeless and disadvantaged she’s been collaborating with for a while now. “The Butterfly Café” is a weekly session offering a safe space for vulnerable women, socialising over food and drink, arts and crafts. This volunteering is what inspired Williams to create, and in return she will be giving 20% of the proceeds from the collection to the charity. Doing good doesn’t stop there. The textiles she uses in her designs include ocean waste plastic yarn woven into technicolour dreamcoats, as well as recycled denim, unpicked and reworked into her signature boxy silhouettes. On the production part, Bethany Williams works with organisations and charities that involve less fortunate people in a creative process that’s usually so far away from their realities.
Luxury. A word that saw its meaning change quite a lot in the past few years. With Bethany Williams, that change is now going even further, despite the not so ideal outside elements. Rain and all – Bethany Williams has got things covered.
Photographs by Jason Lloyd-Evans