Drawing on her inspiration, the collection saw Bethany dive into the historical heritage of vintage and antique wool blankets from across the UK. All the blankets are carefully sourced from vintage sellers, whether that’s Antiques Markets or car boot sales. Steeped in history, each blanket sourced tells a story from the textile and weaving techniques, to the county, town or village it was made in. One of her favourite pieces sourced for the collection was found on a pitch black frosty morning at Sunbury Antiques Market at Kempton Racecourse. With her phone touch as her only source of light she came across a rare and usually very expensive Welsh, patterned wool blanket with brightly coloured pink and orange patches. With this collection, the story continues, as each blanket is given a new lease of life through Bethany’s artistic vision and mastering of design-led upcycling techniques, which created this capsule collection. Shapes for the details on each garment come from historical research into childrenswear that she explored with the V&A Museum of Childhood. The complimentary colour palettes, slightly oversized fit and skilful patchwork techniques all create a unique, bespoke-feel to each garment. Handcrafted in London, the nine upcycled blanket coats are available in three different jacket styles. Each garment is conceptualised by allocating a specific blanket to each style of jacket based on its weight, thickness and colour.
The outer material is the blanket wool for optimal insulation with a 100% organic cotton lining, sourced from Wales. And the story does not end with the wool that was sourced, each element of these coats has a history. From the UK sourced organic cotton insulation to the handmade wooden buttons made by craftsman Spencer Martin from London Green Wood, a not for profit cooperative, using Hackney grown wood or waste wood from local tree surgeons. 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 London.
Jane Williams, CEO and Founder of The Magpie Project commented, “ Working in partnerships with Bethany Williams and her creative crew is like a dream come true for us, our mums and minis. Bethany’s NRPF collection brought the issues that blight our families’ lives to the attention of a whole new audience – making change increasingly possible. She lends her spotlight to tell seldom heard stories – empowering and centring those who have previously felt powerless and marginalised. Now the profits from her collection have become a lifeline for mums in moments of crisis. When a mum was forced to move home with 12 hours notice, the Bethany Williams Benevolent Fund paid for a man with a van, which meant that she did not lose the furniture she had saved and saved to buy. When a mum was forced to flee domestic abuse and was housed in a flat with no beds – the Bethany Williams Benevolent Fund meant that her children did not have to sleep on the floor. We are using the BWBF when no other funds are available to mums – and a surprisingly small amount of money (up to £100 at a time) makes the impossible possible for our mums and minis.”
This collection is part of Selfridges sustainability initiative, Project Earth, committed to putting sustainability in the heart of the business and reinventing the way we shop. “We are so thrilled to be continuing our partnership with Bethany Williams. Bethany joined the Selfridges menswear edit as part of our Bright New Things programme, and we are so excited to now be launching this collection straight from her LFW presentation. She was a clear choice to be included as one of our key Project Earth partners due to her innovative approach to sustainable and socially conscious work - Jack Cassidy, Head of Menswear.
Special Thanks for credits: text and pictures, British Fashion Council, London Fashion Week.