The rumour is confirmed as Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall glides past me with her royal entourage in the BFC showspace canteen. It was the same buzz from 2018 when The Queen made a surprise visit to present Richard Quinn with the very first Queen Elizabeth 2nd Award in 2018. On the same day as the death of Karl Lagerfeld, Bethany William’s AW19 catwalk show began with a minute’s silence to remember his legacy. After the show, The Duchess proclaimed, “this industry pays a very large part in both our economy and our culture”. She states that this year “the award goes to a designer with a social and environmental conscience. She brings ideas and people together and puts change for the good at the heart of her business.”
Bethany Williams received the 2019 trophy in commendation of her strive for change. Her latest collection ‘Adelaide House’ is named after a women’s shelter in Liverpool which acts as a safe place for women leaving prison and seeking protection from domestic violence and homelessness. The collection is to be produced from recycled and organic materials including those from old tents that are also displayed as the backdrop for the catwalk. Whilst working alongside the community San Patrignano in Italy, Bethany has created fabrics mixed from book waste and donated pre-production waste from Italian mills.
The anticipated show opens with an oversized woollen two-piece, decored with geometric patterns. The knitwear is created in collaboration with Wool and the Gang using renewable and biodegradable yarn, hand knitted by Bethany William’s mum. More oversized, hand printed pieces make their way down the runway in gripping primary hues of reds and blues. With beautifully considered patchwork colouring, the oversized and boxy silhouettes instil of the needs of the homeless in the mind of onlookers. Adwoa Aboah leads the army of model activists for the finale before Bethany Williams is given her award, creating a feeling of hope and upliftment for the future of fashion.