On Tuesday 19th February 2019, London College of Fashion alumna, Bethany Williams will be presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen at London Fashion Week.
I am absolutely delighted that Bethany Williams has been recognised with the Queen Elizabeth II Award for Design. Her collections prove that fashion need not come at any cost to people and planet. Ever since Bethany graduated from MA Menswear at LCF in 2016 she has been unwavering in her desire to create a business based on her values – with social and environmental issues at its heart. She embodies a system change that many doubted was possible. Bethany’s work represents the intelligent and considerate ways that fashion can and should be. Beautifully crafted pieces that customers can treasure – fashion that is meaningful that connects us with humanity – to the people that made the garment, who weaved the textile and carved the buttons. Fashion that encourages social enterprise and gives a percentage of profits back to good causes. This way of working is not easy; to create a business that places sustainability and social responsibility at its core is not without challenges, but this award, which is so richly deserved, should demonstrate that it is possible to embrace and face head on the challenges that threaten our industry – from resource depletion to climate change. I am immensely proud of Bethany and privileged that she continues to work with the college through our ‘Making for Change’ initiative at HMP Downview and look forward to supporting her continued success.
The Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design was initiated in recognition of the role the fashion industry plays in society and diplomacy and the movement of young designers that are both talented and making a difference to society through either sustainable practices or community engagement. The inaugural award was announced and presented to Richard Quinn in February 2018 when Her Majesty made her first visit to London Fashion Week. This year’s chosen designer demonstrates both value to the community and strong sustainable practices.
Bethany champions social and environmental causes and challenges perceptions with a perspective that is a true representation of what positive fashion means. Over recent seasons she has partnered with charities supporting social change across women’s empowerment, homelessness, successful rehabilitation of offenders back into society, improving literacy amongst the most vulnerable in society and education programmes teaching skills and creating employment for those with the most limited opportunities and prospects.
Bethany has an ongoing relationship with TIH models, a modelling agency that supports youth in London who have been affected by homelessness; casting them in campaigns and fashion shows at market standard rates.
Balancing this with her commitment to positive environmental change and practices Bethany Williams combines these social programmes with the development of new textile manufacturing techniques using materials often discarded as waste within traditional textile manufacturing facilities, recycled materials, and finding innovative ways to repurpose waste product into new usable textiles spanning industries from publishing and printing, wine bottling and tenting.
Bethany Williams’s partnerships with organisations in these fields is a commitment to giving back. A sizeable percentage of profit from the wholesale and distribution of her work is returned to these partners to help further their work and put resources where they are needed most at the foundations of a sustainable and equal society.
To see more of Bethany’s work follow her on Instagram @bethany_williams_london and bethany-williams.com, or to buy items in her collection at Bethany Williams at Farfetch. For press enquiries, email Ashley at firstname.lastname@example.org.