An award-winning designer who explores social and environmental change, Bethany Williams is inspirational not only for her passion for social enterprise, but also for her courage to challenge norms within the fashion industry.
Earlier this year Bethany was awarded the highly prestigious Queen Elizabeth II Award for design during London Fashion Week for her environmentally-inspired fashion collection.
The year that changed her life
Bethany’s journey at University College Isle of Man (UCM) started with a plan to study Geography, but she decided to take a year to explore her love for art and studied the Art Foundation course instead.
“For an entire year I had the opportunity to explore all aspects of art and it certainly gave me a new direction in life and brought me to where I am now. I made a lot of great friends there and the tutors were amazing – it was one of my favourite years of my life!”
After leaving UCM, Bethany went on to study Critical Fine Arts Practice at Brighton University and upon graduation she worked in the industry for three years before doing her master’s degree at the London College of Fashion. Since her graduation, Bethany has successfully built a fashion line that focuses on exploring the connections between social and environmental issues and creating fashionable and sustainable design solutions.
Combining her passion for social and environmental issues with fashion, to change the world!
Although Bethany’s career is firmly set within the fashion industry, she is an environmentalist and a social activist at heart. Since completing her masters, she has been building her business completely based on her strong ethos on sustainability, striving to spark a positive change on the way we recycle and discard clothes.
“Initially I didn’t want to get into fashion but I really enjoyed creating textiles. So that inspired me to want to create an alternative way in fashion that brought my passion together with my values; garment making, textiles and environment and social issues.”
Bethany chose her moment at London Fashion Week in 2019 to make a statement about the housing crisis by showcasing her line of streetwear that is crafted from recycled and organic materials. Bethany employed a group of women from the San Patrignano Drug Rehabilitation Centre in Italy to weave book waste from The Echo Newspaper in Liverpool, to create the fabric used for the designs at her show. In addition, to compliment these efforts, she teamed up with TIH Models, a talent agency that creates paid opportunities for those who are sleeping rough on the streets of London, to enlist a couple of homeless models for the catwalk.
Bethany’s innovative and ethically-focussed fashion line has since attracted a wide list of cult stockists worldwide, including The Library, 50m in London, Odd 92 in New York, Galeries Lafayette in Paris, Nid in Tokyo, and Rare Market in Seoul!