Our AW20 collection, No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) celebrates motherhood, childhood, sisterhood, and the family we choose, highlighting the importance of this powerful bond. The catwalk show at London Fashion Week Men’s was dedicated to giving a community that is marginalised and silenced on a daily basis, a platform and voice to share their story.
Working in collaboration with Newham based charity, The Magpie Project. Founded in 2017, it's a coal-face, crisis-to-crisis, grassroots organisation created to make sure that a spell in temporary accommodation does not cause permanent damage to children who experience it. “We have supported over 400 mothers and 500 children in the past two years. Women and children who have become invisible to an unaware or uncaring society. At first glance, our world of living on £34 a week, and of infested and unfit accommodation seemed a million miles away from menswear.”– notes its founder Jane Williams.
On multiple visits to Magpie, Bethany brought Melissa Kitty Jarram, a South East London based illustrator and artist, to hear the otherwise untold truths of mums and their small children forced to live in temporary and unfit accommodation, unable to work, or study, or move, because they have been deemed to have “no recourse to public funds”. The artwork collaboration for this season has been created from a visit to Magpie’s ‘Rhyme and Song’ session where Melissa illustrated the bond between mother and child.
As we worked closely with the children of Magpie – the garment construction and craft techniques inspired by children’s clothing shaped the collection. The Women’s Institute community works closely with Magpie and creates a personal blanket for every baby born into the Magpie family. We used recycled bedding and techniques often used on baby blankets, such as quilting and patchworking throughout the collection, to give a nod to this inspiring act.
We continued to work with various social projects, suppliers, crafts-people, and manufacturers for the production of this collection. Our knitwear was hand-knitted by Alice Evans and Bethany’s mother Karen Kewley using Wool and the Gang yarns.
For this season, a new Wool and the Gang x Magpie Project sock pattern was designed and developed. As a response to the fact, socks are one of the most un-donated clothing items and are in the most demand in the homeless community. The sock pattern is available for free download via Wool and the Gang, with two sizes to choose from. This allows anyone to download and knit socks, which are to be donated to the Magpie mothers and children.
Working in partnership with Adidas once again for AW20’s London Fashion Week Men's show, we celebrated the anniversary of the iconic Adidas Superstar. All models from the show wore superstars, with a select few of the shoes having been made in collaboration with Helen Kirkum. Helen works on creating sneakers from waste materials, she upcycled shoes, using Superstars donated through the new Adidas Infinite Play Initiative and waste materials from the collection development.
As with every Bethany Williams collection, 20% of the profits from the collection will go to the charity it was made in collaboration with.
Read our AW20 Press Release, written by Jane Williams’ the Founder of The Magpie Project.
Creative Direction - Bethany Williams
Art Direction, Illustrator and Filmmaker – Melissa Kitty Jarram
Stylist – Tallulah Harlech
Casting – Chloe Rosolek
Poet – Eno Mfon
Music Direction – Benji B
Hair – by Federico Ghezzi at Saint Luke Artists using Kevin Murphy
Make Up – Anne Sophie Costa at Streeters using Elemis
Knitwear – Karen Kewley and Alice Morell Evans
Footwear – Adidas and Helen Kirkum
Accessories – Natalie Hodgson
Communication – The Lobby London
Production – Blonstein Productions
Backstage Photography – Amber Rose Dixon
Special thanks to – The British Fashion Council, Caroline Rush, The Magpie Project, Wool and the Gang, Orto Print Studio, Molly Evans, Joesph Henry, Eric Williams, Karen Kewley, Natalie Hodgson.