• The 'S' Report

A Review of Bethany Williams

Image courtesy of i-d.vice.com

If there is one brand that represents the future of fashion, it is Bethany Williams. The brand approaches high fashion with social change at the forefront of it’s consciousness. For each collection the brand collaborates with a charity. This connection between social and environmental change allows for a truly positive brand which creates great change while still being a high fashion menswear brand which features truly creative design. It is because of this commitment to addressing problems within the fashion industry that Bethany William’s has gained huge amounts of attention from the likes of Anna Wintour and others after only 3 years.

Her most recent collection has collaborated with Spires, which runs a weekly drop-in safe space for vulnerable women to enjoy food and drink and arts and crafts. The materials are also responsibly sourced with the jersey coming from women in Downview Prison who gain training in return and the woven materials come from a drug rehabilitation community in Italy.

The designs themselves have an ethereal feel to them due to the eclectic mix of subdued colours. It is clear that the patterns have been inspired by marbelling and mixing paint which gives the designs a feel of not being precious, you can wear these clothes to live in, they don’t need to be kept safe and hidden away. They aren’t pretentious. This modern brand shakes off the old fashion snootiness and loftiness which still penetrates many of the older brands.

The oil slick patterns nod to some of the environmental problems we are experiencing at the moment, how our society is overly dependent on fossil fuels and how it leads to not only huge environmental problems but they are a finite resource that will run out. The fashion industry is one of the most dependent industries on fossil fuels with them being at every single stage of the production process and being the source of many fabrics such as polyester and nylon.

The silhouettes are oversized classics with an air of ‘grandad-chic’ which translates to modern takes on knit vests. This attitude towards menswear is extremely popular at the moment, especially from British designers whose designs will clearly work well with the British weather (think rain jackets and knits) and will be popular with the East-London fashionistas who love this style at the moment. But where Bethany Williams really stands out is the patterns, where the materials are from and most importantly an integrity which is rarely seen in designers.

While Bethany Williams is definitely a brand to watch, the almost overnight success and hype around the brand makes us slightly nervous. As the brand grows will it keep social justice in the heart of every collection? Well we hope so, if it’s anything like the other successful fashion brands it will, of course, become more business-minded and less focussed on helping the World. In an ideal World, Bethany Williams will inspire other brands, fashion-related or not, to create as much positive change as they can.

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