The Design Museum opens the Bethany Williams exhibition

The Design Museum in London has unveiled a new free exhibition celebrating emerging sustainable designer Bethany Williams exploring her “alternative vision” for the fashion industry by using waste and forging community collaborations.

The “Bethany Williams: Alternative Systems” exhibition opened today February 22 and will continue throughout the spring. She will showcase the designer’s creative approach, the materials she uses, and how Williams’ work tackles social and environmental issues through community collaboration and a spirit of reuse.

Priya Khanchandani, Curatorial Officer at the Design Museum and curator of the exhibition, said in a statement: “Bethany Williams’ work fuses a streetwear style with handcrafted forms rooted in human values. I see it as a happy example of socially produced design that is more respectful of our planet.

“The exhibition revolves around the notion of alternative systems as it shows the immense potential of the design industry – of fashion and beyond – to tackle social and environmental issues through ways of working The exhibitions unveil the voices of the studio’s many collaborators, their creativity sewn into every stitch of the garments, and celebrate what inclusive design could be.

Opening of the Bethany Williams exhibition at the Design Museum

The free exhibit, displayed on all four walls of the Balcony Gallery in the museum’s atrium, is part of the Design Museum’s “Designers Thinking in Public” program and highlights Williams’ innovative approach to design, through clothing, textile samples, archival documents, photographs. and film clips.

Image: Bethany Williams ‘All Our Children’ collection by Ruth Ossai

Visitors can follow the design story behind each of Williams’ collections, including garments with embedded stories. Like the “Prison Messages” sports jacket from the Women of Change collection, which features words screen-printed from letters exchanged between women at HMP Downview prison in London and women in the San Patrignano community about what change means to them. Next to it is an image of the 1912 suffragette handkerchief embroidered by women at HMP Holloway, which inspired the design of this garment.

There is also a special tribute to the work of the Emergency Designer Network, a collaboration between Phoebe English, Holly Fulton, Cozette McCreery and Williams, which has resulted in the supply of thousands of sets of scrubs, masks and gowns to workers in front line during the pandemic.

Bethany Williams added, “Through our work, we hope to continue to reach new audiences, encourage inclusivity and positive change for the fashion industry. The Design Museum continues to be aligned with this through the curated exhibitions , including their Waste Age exhibit, which we featured last year.

“We are very proud to present our new exhibition: Bethany Williams: Alternative Systems, a celebration of the new way of working proposed for the fashion industry by the work of the studio.”

Bethany Williams presents her AW22 collection during London Fashion Week

Image: Bethany Williams AW22

To celebrate the opening of the exhibition, Williams presented her Autumn/Winter 2022 “Hands that Heal Us” collection at the museum during London Fashion Week.

The collection draws inspiration from what Williams calls the “ever-growing community of makers, creatives, local and social makers” who are integral to the brand and supply chain, which is highlighted through to a collaboration with artist Melissa Kitty Jarram, who interpreted all the manufacturing partners and their specific role in the supply chain in the history of printing.

This season, the enduring designer is also adding to her wardrobe essential offering to build on entry prices with the debut of denim in her main line. Williams collaborated with denim experts, Road and their founders Rosie Ingleby and Amy Roberton to fuse its signature details with durable dark indigo raw denim supplied by Isko.

The denim range also includes Bethany Williams branded unscrewable eco-finished metal buttons to ensure they are easily removable to continue the lifecycle of the garment, as buttons can often be an obstacle in the recycling process.

Image: Bethany Williams AW22

There are also more refined outerwear styles, building on the tailoring of its latest “All Out Stories” collection, with trench coats, wool overcoats and a vegan leather jacket, made from cactus. The collection also includes bamboo silk, including her first set of pajamas.

Commenting on the collection, Williams said: “The main focus of this collection is the many hands that touch our garments throughout the manufacturing process, through the integration of handmade and artisanal elements, in the form of weaving, knitting, printing, patchwork and embroidery. .

“The life of each garment passes delicately through the hands of our complex supply chain, and for that we feel immense gratitude to our makers, our tools and the team around us.”

Image: Bethany Williams AW22
Image: Bethany Williams AW22

Abdul J. Gaspar