For the second year in a row and in both years since its inception, the Queen Elizabeth II Award for Design has been awarded to a UAL graduate. The British Fashion Council announced that London College of Fashion, UAL alumna Bethany Williams will be presented with this year's award by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen on Tuesday 19th February 2019 at London Fashion Week.
The QEII Award for 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.
Central Saint Martins, UAL alumnus Richard Quinn was presented with the inaugural prize by HRH Queen Elizabeth II in 2018 on what was her first ever appearance at London Fashion Week.
Professor Frances Corner OBE, Head of London College of Fashion, UAL:
I am absolutely delighted that Bethany Williams has been recognised with the Queen Elizabeth II Award for Design. Her collections prove that fashion need not come at any cost to people and planet. Ever since Bethany graduated from MA Menswear at London College of Fashion, UAL in 2016 she has been unwavering in her desire to create a business based on her values – with social and environmental issues at its heart. She embodies a system change that many doubted was possible. Bethany’s work represents the intelligent and considerate ways that fashion can and should be. Beautifully crafted pieces that customers can treasure – fashion that is meaningful that connects us with humanity – to the people that made the garment, who weaved the textile and carved the buttons. Fashion that encourages social enterprise and gives a percentage of profits back to good causes.
This way of working is not easy; to create a business that places sustainability and social responsibility at its core is not without challenges, but this award, which is so richly deserved, should demonstrate that it is possible to embrace and face head on the challenges that threaten our industry – from resource depletion to climate change. I am immensely proud of Bethany and privileged that she continues to work with the college through our ‘Making for Change’ initiative at HMP Downview and look forward to supporting her continued success.
Bethany Williams believes that social and environmental issues go hand in hand and through exploring the connection between these issues that innovative design solutions to sustainability can be found. Her current collection ‘Adelaide House,’ which will be shown on catwalk at London Fashion Week on Tuesday 19 February at 4.00 pm builds on the environmental and socially enterprising foundations laid by her previous collections including her SS19 collection, ‘No Address Needed to Join.’ ‘Adelaide House’ takes its name from a women’s shelter based in Liverpool, one of only six such facilities in the country, which provides a safe place for women leaving prison or dealing with issues such as domestic violence and homelessness.
Bethany has also continued working with London College of Fashion, UAL’s ‘Making for Change’ programme, which is a unit which provides support and training in specialist machines skills for women at HMP Downview. The unit will be constructing the jersey pieces for the collection. Manx Workshop for the disabled will be producing the buttons for the collection. The relationships built between Making for Change, San Patrignano and Manx workshop represent a long term commitment to providing skills and meaningful employment for those in the production process.