On Tuesday 19th February 2019, Bethany Williams will be presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen at London Fashion Week.
The Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design was initiated in recognition of the role the fashion industry plays in society and diplomacy and the movement of young designers that are both talented and making a difference to society through either sustainable practices or community engagement. The inaugural award was announced and presented to Richard Quinn in February 2018 when Her Majesty made her first visit to London Fashion Week. This year’s chosen designer demonstrates both value to the community and strong sustainable practices.
Caroline Rush CBE, CEO, British Fashion Council commented: “The UK is known for its world-class creative emerging talent, and many of the new generation of talent are embedding sustainable or social impact within their businesses from the start. Bethany is an incredible example of this generation of designer and we are delighted to work with the Duchess of Cornwall this year on behalf of Her Majesty to highlight her work through this Award as another very special moment at London Fashion Week.”
Bethany Williams champions social and environmental causes and challenges perceptions with a perspective that is a true representation of what positive fashion means. Over recent seasons she has partnered with charities supporting social change across women’s empowerment, homelessness, successful rehabilitation of offenders back into society, improving literacy amongst the most vulnerable in society and education programmes teaching skills and creating employment for those with the most limited opportunities and prospects.
Bethany has an ongoing relationship with TIH models, a modelling agency that supports youth in London who have been affected by homelessness; casting them in campaigns and fashion shows at market standard rates.
Balancing this with her commitment to positive environmental change and practices Bethany Williams combines these social programmes with the development of new textile manufacturing techniques using materials often discarded as waste within traditional textile manufacturing facilities, recycled materials, and finding innovative ways to repurpose waste product into new usable textiles spanning industries from publishing and printing, wine bottling and tenting.
Bethany Williams’s partnerships with organisations in these fields is a commitment to giving back. A sizeable percentage of profit from the wholesale and distribution of her work is returned to these partners to help further their work and put resources where they are needed most at the foundations of a sustainable and equal society.
The Award itself was designed by Angela Kelly, inspired by the Queen Elizabeth rose, and was hand-produced by Lucy Price at Bauhinia Studios and in Birmingham's famous jewellery quarter.