All Our Stories is a collection inspired by our continued work with East London grassroots organisation, The Magpie Project, a charity that supports women and children who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The Magpie Project works to make sure that a spell in insecure or temporary accommodation does not result in permanent damage to life chances of the children who experience it.
“She still wears stories passed down to her by her mother. Words that no longer fit the same way because life has stretched and changed its shape, but the moral of the story remains. Like the smile on her face. Her joy is new, even though the ending is not. She has not forgotten the promise she made, never to waste these old tattered tales but to tell them to her children - again and again. To get to the end and watch them smile. They are their stories now. They are All Our Stories.”
– Eno Mfon, Spoken Word Poet
Artist Melissa Kitty Jarram - inspired by the folklore passed from generation to generation and childhood stories that continue to inform us in our adult lives - ran storytelling workshops with the Magpie families and illustrated the magical narratives they shared. She then used waste book covers in her illustrations to tell a new story.
The collection focuses on five main storylines shared by the families of the Magpie Project, “AOS”, “Blessing”, “Dinosaurs” and “The Girl Who Cried Tiger”, as well as Bethany’s own, “The Sun and The Wind” personal childhood story.
“What we noticed through the story-telling workshops, was that the moral in each story always came back to kindness, care, and respect for one another and how these traits, whilst important in childhood, have just as much meaning in adult life.”
– Bethany Williams
The silhouettes of the collection are inspired by the V&A Museum of Childhood garment archive. This collection sees our first detailed exploration into tailoring with a suit inspired by a historical childrens skeleton suit from the 1800’s. The skeleton suit was the first children’s garment designed for play. The new shapes stand alongside our existing forms representing our continued development. The collection also features two corsets created with Welsh designer Rosie Evans using cutoffs from the collection production. In these corsets, Rosie has replaced traditional boning with a material made out of fruit packaging waste.
At a time when the V&A Museum of Childhood has fully decanted for refurbishment, All Our Stories has filled the empty space with new stories and community faces for our campaign imagery.
As with all our work, the collection is created via social manufacturing partners who are built into the framework of social enterprise. We continue to work with community driven, UK based social manufacturing partner, Making for Change Poplar Works. For the first time, we used donations of Merino Wool deadstock from Lanificio Ermenegildo Zegna, which has been printed with eco-friendly inks via Orto Print in Peckham.
Through the collaboration with Mending For Good, knitwear has been a key area of development for this collection where we proudly introduce a new social manufacturing partnership called Manusa. Manusa is a social cooperative that involves people from various backgrounds, specializing in hand-techniques including delicate crochet, embroidery and hand-knitting. Designed in collaboration with Alice Morell Evans, the knitwear uses Sesia Wool industry waste sample swatches, crocheted together with Seisia organic bio wool. Each year, the sample swatches created each season become surplus at the end of each production cycle. To utilise this waste, Bethany and Founder of Mending For Good, Barbara Guarducci, developed a sorting technique with Sesia for their team to separate the swatches.
Barbara Guarducci said “Mending for Good was born to provide design-driven technical solutions for the excess stock and left-overs of the fashion industry. Everyday tons of so far “considered” waste are still produced, that is why we love to collaborate with visionary designers such as Bethany Williams that sees waste as the raw material from which a beautiful story can start.”
The book cover waste, provided by Hatchette, is used for our iconic Book Bags, and integrated into the collection’s garments through our woven textile collaboration with San Patrignano, an education and rehabilitation programme that teaches traditional Italian craft and a sense of community.
Six looks from All Our Stories make up the brand's submission for the 2021 International Woolmark Prize finals.
20% of the profits from this collection will be donated to The Magpie Project via The Bethany Williams Benevolent Fund, a fund set up by The Magpie Project and Bethany Williams in 2020.
Donate to The Bethany Williams Benevolent Fund.
Creative Direction – Bethany Williams
A Film By – Olivia Lifungula
Director of Photography - Jan Solberg
Gaffer - Conrad Reid
Gaffer - Will Watson
Editor - Josh Homer
Colourist - Alexandre Nerzic
Music Direction – Benji B
Director of Stills Photography- Christina Ebenezer
Photographer’s Assistant: Nathan Ford
Poet and Model– Eno Mfon
Stylist – Ola Ebiti
Illustrator, Set Illustration and Model– Melissa Kitty Jarram
MUA – Rebecca Davenport
Hair Stylist – Lauraine Bailey at Evolved Artists
Knitwear – Alice Morell Evans, Mending for Good, Manusa
Embroidery - Alice Mahoney
Footwear – Grenson
Corsets - Rosie Evans
Bags – Stevan Saville
Communication – Creativ House
Production – Faye Scott-Maberley
Set Build and Model - Sam Gosling
Models - Stephanie, King, Khalani, Blessing, Emmanuella, Ogechi, Chiamaka, Heather, Louis, Yus, Benjamin, Hanad, Bruno
Special Thanks – The Magpie Project, The V&A Museum of Childhood, The British Fashion Council, Caroline Rush, Jane Williams, Mending For Good, Barbara Guarducci, Manusa, San Patrignano, Making for Change, British Vogue, Edward Enninful, CFE, Judith Tolley, Orto Print Studio, Karen Kewley, Natalie Hodgson, Matta Siregar, Catriona Macleod, Dawit Mulat, Ade Laniyan and Megan St Clair.