A Virtuous Circle: Bethany Williams Makes Clothes With an Ethical and Environmental Spin

In what already feels like a menswear season in flux, one of the most interesting offerings from London on Day 1 came from an outlier set on doing things differently. On the face of it, Bethany Williams’s presentation seemed pretty darned sparse. The three looks included a coat in a lettered post-Céline shopping-bag weave over trackies, a Canadian tuxedo with more lettering, and a riotously piled sweater-short combo, all worn over Nikes.

It was the piles of frayed fabrics placed between the models that pointed to the richness in Williams’s interesting fledgling efforts to create clothing that is both morally and environmentally responsible. As she explained, the textiles had been woven by women in San Patrignano, a substance abuse rehabilitation community near Rimini, from waste materials generated there. That coat, for instance was made of repurposed electrical tape. After being designed by Williams, the garments were then sewn by inmates at HMP Downview, a women-only prison in Sutton, England, where Williams participates in programs designed to help vulnerable inmates equip themselves for life after incarceration. Furthermore, the models were cast by an agency that works with young Londoners affected by homelessness.

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