Our SS20 collection, Butterfly Cafe, was created in collaboration with Spires, a South London based charity that helps hundreds of homeless and disadvantaged people all year round. The collection focuses on the female only ‘safe space’ where Spires’ female staff and volunteers offer a consistent and long-term approach to each woman who comes to the Spires centre for help. Open to vulnerable, socially isolated women and women engaged with sex work; Spires completes a holistic assessment of need and a care plan for each client.
SS20 was named after the Spires’ Butterfly Café – a weekly run session which offers a safe space and meeting point for vulnerable women to socialise over food and drink and partake in creative activities to learn and develop skills in arts and crafts, jewellery making, knitting and card making. When speaking to the support workers at Spires they told Bethany that the ‘Butterfly Café’ got its name from the transformative effect the sessions were having on the women’s lives – these themes of growth and transformation are reflected in the collection as well as in the show location, the Garden Museum.
Every element of the collection is thoughtfully produced and hand-crafted. Her now signature knitwear uses Wool And The Gang ocean waste plastic yarn and recycled denim yarn knitted by hand by Bethany's Mum, Karen Kewley and Alice Morell Evans.
The SS20 collection introduced tailoring and fitted shapes, with denim throughout. The black and indigo denim used within the collection comes from Chris Carney Collections, a recycling and sorting facility. It was unpicked, washed and reworked, creating the range of black and blue denim printed looks. Working in collaboration with illustrator Giorgia Chiarion on the prints for this season. Giorgia visualised what it is that makes the women feel safe and secure, as well as the route of the outreach night bus which works within the community, through her beautifully abstract illustration style.
We continued to work with social projects in the creation of this collection –‘Making for Change,’ a pioneering programme created by the Ministry of Justice and London College of Fashion, UAL at HMP Downview for the jersey production, The Manx Disability Workshop who produce our buttons, and San Patrignano, a drug rehabilitation community in Italy who have woven recycled textiles from tenting. We worked in partnership with Adidas Originals – who supplied footwear from their Home of Classics collection, the all-white Supercourt featured in each look.
As with every Bethany Williams collection, 20% of the proceeds from the collection will go to the charity it was made in collaboration with.
Creative Direction - Bethany Williams
Art Direction and Print Design – Giorgia Chiarion
Stylist – Tallulah Harlech
Casting – 11 Casting
Set Design – Lydia Chan
Hair – Hair by Federico Ghezzi at Saint Luke using Schwarzkopf Professional
Make Up – Makeup By Michelle Webb on behalf of AOFMPro using Dermalogica Knitwear - Karen Kewley and Alice Morell Evans
Footwear – All models wearing the Adidas Originals Supercourt available at www.adidas.co.uk #HomeofClassics
Communication – The Lobby London
Production – Antony Waller
Music Direction – Dean Bryce, featuring the poem ‘Growth’ by Janet Devlin
Shownotes – Frances Corner
Special thanks to – The British Fashion Council, Caroline Rush, Spires, Adidas, London College of Fashion, UAL, San Patrignano, Giorgia Chiarion, Making for Change, Wool and the Gang, Orto Print Studio, TIH Models, The Lobby London, Frances Corner, Orsola DeCastro, Eric Williams, Karen Kewley, Natalie Hodgson.
In the words of Professor Frances Corner OBE, Head of London College of Fashion, UAL and Pro-Vice Chancellor, University of the Arts London...
When Bethany said she wanted to change the system many doubted it was possible; but four collections in and she’s proving that fashion does not have to come at the expense of people and planet. Ever since Bethany graduated from MA Menswear at London College of Fashion, UAL in 2016, she has been unwavering in her desire to create a business based on her values. It’s a brave stance from a young designer about to enter one of the most competitive industries in the world. But Bethany has always been different. Before graduation, her Mum could be found backstage, busy knitting socks and adding the final touches to her collection. For Bethany everything is personal, her beautifully original pieces, rich with hand-crafted detail translate into collections that her customers treasure. Fashion that is meaningful that connects us with humanity; to the people that made the garment, weaved the fabric 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 as her beautiful new collection, The Butterfly Café demonstrates, she continues to meet these challenges head on.
Bethany’s work brings into sharp focus some of the country’s most difficult problems, from homelessness to domestic abuse, but her work is much more than social commentary. Her ethos is one of collaboration – where social and environmental concerns go hand in hand; she embeds herself within communities from charities to prisons, to provide meaningful employment and create engaging and empowering opportunities to create positive change.