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Bethany Williams (Social Innovation in Materials Design, 2020)

Bethany Williams

This past twelve months of my Arts Foundation Fellowship year has been an extraordinary one - between expanding my brand, building on my portfolio and responding to the current crisis, I have been extremely busy! One of my most satisfying projects this year has been working with the Emergency Designer Network. Working collectively as 150 makers, so far EDN have made nearly 10,000 sets of scrubs and distributed them to 42 individual hospitals, surgeries and care facilities whilst also supplying individuals who have approached us directly including midwives, ICU workers and Doctors, enabling them to have a personal supply of scrubs outside of the NHS chain.

Read Bethany Williams's testimonial

Bethany Williams’ upbringing in a creative and environmentally conscious family has heavily influenced her practice as a fashion designer. Her work sits as a contrast to the fashion world’s need ‘to work on creating social change, rather than exploitation’ and she explores innovative design solutions to sustainability whilst using her work as a tool to empower marginalised communities.

In 2018 her Women of Change collection (SS18) was created in collaboration with female prisoners and women from the San Patrignano drug and alcohol dependency program. As well as taking inspiration from certain materials around the grounds of San Patrignano, the collection used recycled wool and denim from Kent which was hand-knitted via cottage industry on the Isle of Man where Williams grew up – her mother even hand-knitted the samples.

William’s most recent collection No Address Needed to Join (SS19) utilises waste materials from the publishing industry to create garments that, alongside being recycled or organic, have a considerable social impact such as the buttons which are produced by the Manx Workshop who support people with disabilities into paid employment.

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