Bethany Williams is known for her ethical fashion, made of commitment to maintaining a high level of sustainability and to help those in difficult situations. From the first moment Vogue Talents he supported the designer, creating and consolidating a relationship that can now be defined as lasting. On the occasion of the magazine’s 10th anniversary, Bethany Williams has been included in the selection of creatives who have been interviewed to tell us about the results achieved so far. Now we publish the full version of the interview to introduce you to the world of Williams and all its social and sustainable projects. She told us how she started, her inspirations, the constant search for charitable organizations to collaborate with, the meticulous attention to her territory and the respect of those who work with her on this project. ethical fashion.
Here’s what we talked about together.
How did you start in fashion?
I have always been interested in fabrics since I was little, at home, but I never really chose fashion. I studied Fine Arts but then I came to make fashion part of my job. I worked at Garage Magazine in the art section and then I was included in fashion, but my first interest was always the fabric and the creation of the garments. I didn’t like the idea of working in fashion, but it happened naturally.
Your interest in fabrics comes from your family, right?
My mother was a model maker in the factory, so we always had fabric for the house because she often brought work to the house and sewed. He made many of our clothes.
Speaking of your philosophy, what’s different in your approach? What made you so successful in such a short time? Could you summarize your ethos?
It’s like creating an alternative system in fashion, an alternative way of working. I had these ideas because of my background in Fine Arts because I read a lot of old philosophers and how art has the ability to have a social impact and to have an effect outside of itself. I think all this has had a big impact on my work. Each collection is tied to a different social project, as well as to a different charity organization. Then there is a “social production” for which part of the production is entrusted to these projects. A tiny fraction of the denim is produced in a factory in London, but I’m trying to work with a community that works the fabric in Blackburn to take care of this. We also work with Making for Change in prisons, therefore with the aim of producing everything socially. For now the denim weaving part is made in London. I have always worked with a family-sized unit, but as I am growing up, my biggest concern is that the people I work with are fully verified.
Tell me something about the style of your brand, the cut of your clothes …
This season I tried to do something more tailored because I am trying to make my creations accessible to as many people as possible. Before, I used more oversized shapes, but now I’m trying to do something more adherent.
Do you think this will be the way you will keep going?
I try to do something different every season so as not to make it too easy. I know that I like to show during the men’s fashion weeks, but since my style is quite gender fluid, I have tried to make fitting on more minute men so the garments will be wearable by both men and women. We also made some women’s looks or more suitable for women. The point is to make it as accessible as possible.
How do you choose the charities you work with?
I learned about Making For Change through my teaching at the London College of Fashion, while San Patrignano was introduced to me by London College. Since then I have continued to work with them, given their wonderful programs. It is a way to really see how people in desperate situations are helped. For the buttons I work with an Isle of Man wood workshop where I come from because I wanted to support them in some way.
Then there is a charity project for each collection. For example, the Butterfly Café which supports women and men from South London who are experiencing difficult situations. We work with women with mental problems, women suffering from domestic violence, homelessness, women involved in prostitution. There is a place where these women can stay in Liverpool, called Adelaide House. In the UK there are only six such places and it is very important that these women are supported and not stigmatized.
Is it always your intention to donate part of the profits to charity?
It is difficult to donate, but it is my intention to do so. It is not easy at all and it is much more difficult being a small company. Through fashion, things can be amplified and I think it is important to use your own voice to challenge the system and change things.
How do your collections come to life? What is your creative process?
I usually start researching the type of area I want to talk about. When I first became interested in Adelaide House, I wanted to learn more about the phenomenon of homeless women in the United Kingdom. I wanted to find an organization that was committed to this and in which I could believe, and moreover, the fact that it came from the north of England was very important to me, being the place where I was born. The point therefore becomes that of connecting the tissues and the charity to that region; find a partner to present, recover the waste materials and send them to San Patrignano. Then develop the fabrics and prints to relate them to the charity project. Shapes come last because I feel I can’t decide until I know the fabrics I’m going to use.
What did winning the Queen Elizabeth II Award for Design mean to you?
It was a swirling experience and I feel very grateful. I feel that it really defined the direction I had to take. It was amazing. Because I knew about both this award and the LVMH award, but I couldn’t say anything. In addition to these two things, I also received New Gen as part of the British Fashion Council. I believe that this type of celebration opens the doors, not only for my work, but for the whole community and all future young generations.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far? Is educating consumers the hardest thing to do right now?
I think younger generations are very interested in these topics. My generation is the last one that can actually change things. I am twenty-nine years old, my brother is eight years younger than me and he is so environmentally aware. The biggest challenge is certainly production. And when you work with many social projects, the difficult thing becomes to make sure that everything happens on schedule.
Are the projects you have chosen characterized by high standards?
The quality of the work of the community of San Patrignano is truly incredible, they are very professional and really care about what they do.
What is your ultimate goal in doing this?
My social project in the UK, my charity projects and also continue to be creative.