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Bethany Williams launches 'All Our Stories' at Coal Drops Yard

Image of Bethany Williams in cream two piece with decorative patterns on waistcoat, with multicoloured flags in the background.
  • Written byLondon College of Fashion
  • Published date 05 August 2021
Image of Bethany Williams in cream two piece with decorative patterns on waistcoat, with multicoloured flags in the background.

On Friday 9 July, Coal Drops Yard launched a striking new Flag Art installation entitled ‘All Our Stories’. Designed by award-winning sustainable fashion designer, humanitarian and artist and LCF alumna, Bethany Williams, the artwork is a continuation of Williams’ acclaimed fashion collection that launched at London Fashion Week 2021.

Raised, coloured flags with a mix of red, yellow and black curved patterns.

The installation, which will be on display until Sunday 5 September, is comprised of 90 colourful, illustrated flags, which stretch between the iconic roofs of Coal Drops Yard, and is Bethany’s first ever large-scale artwork. The artwork is the first life of the flags, they will then be re-purposed into a limited edition, unisex fashion collection, including shirts and matching shorts, tote bags, masks and accessories. The collection will be sold in Kiosk N1C in Coal Drops Yard and Browns Fashion. Proceeds from the sales will then be donated back to the Magpie Project and Making for Change.

‘All Our Stories’ is based on a collection of illustrated, intergenerational stories inspired by collaborative storytelling workshops that Williams conducted with the children and mothers from the East London grassroots organisation, The Magpie Project, a charity that supports women and children who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and London College of Fashion’s Making for Change, a fashion training and manufacturing programme established at HMP Downview in 2014 and now also based at Poplar Works. Williams teamed up with illustrator and artist Melissa Kitty Jarram to transform these stories into a series of illustrations, which in turn have now been transposed into flags.

Image of Bethany Williams with members of The Magpie Trust, backed by the multicoloured flags.

Bethany Williams said of the project: “I'm really excited to share this public art installation at Coal Drops Yard which is an area I have always been very interested to explore. It's such a joy to be able to celebrate all the beautiful communities’ stories in a public space.”

Bethany Williams is the second artist to take on the summer flag art commission for Coal Drops Yard, which first launched in 2020 with Lauren Godfrey. This annual project places decommissioning at the forefront of the considerations with the artwork being only the first life of this fabric. The flags themselves are created from an organic Hemp Slub and which is 100% recyclable. The material choice references the age-old practice of flag-making, considers the future of Hemp’s role in the textile industry, and reflects Coal Drops Yard as a destination for fashion.

Zoomed out shot of Coal Drops Yard, with the multicoloured raised flags visible in the distance