Designer Bethany Williams

Bethany Williams

Bethany Williams

“When I was much younger, I didn’t want to go into fashion because it seemed wasteful,” says award-winning fashion designer Bethany Williams. “But I love textiles and I love making and I love designing. You’ve got to be part of the problem to create a solution.” When it comes to Bethany’s design philosophy, social, ethical, and environmental issues go hand in hand, and innovative design can actually be a tool that poses real solutions to the sustainability issues our planet currently faces.

Since founding her brand in 2017, Bethany has worked closely with communities and charities to inform collections that are embedded with real stories. She’s the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Award for Fashion Innovation in 2019 and an LVMH Prize Finalist in 2019. Bethany continues to collaborate with  social good organizations to address issues across the fashion industry and wider society from all angles, from agriculture to communication.  Her collections act as mediums to share the unique perspectives and stories of her collaborators.

Three images of a runway fashion show: on the left, a Black man with short dreads wears an overcoat woven in orange, yellow, and green. In the middle, a Black woman with short platinum hair wears a woven trench coat of many colors; on the right, a Black man wears a black do-rag and a denim suit. Yellow caution tape crosses his chest.

With this approach in mind, working with Augmented Atelier in collaboration with More or Less presented some exciting opportunities for Bethany.  “I was just really excited about it because, the idea of being able to create garments that aren't creating waste could be so impactful,” she reveals.

Working with a digital process that eliminated multiple rounds of pattern-making and model fittings offered an interesting contrast to her studio process and way of working. “I thought it was so interesting to eliminate the fitting step. With this, you see the sketch, the digital patterns, and then immediately it appears on the body—which was a really amazing process that eliminated a lot of extra work for us.”

“I was just really excited about it because, the idea of being able to create garments that aren't creating waste could be so impactful,”

- Bethany Williams

A series of animations shows a digital garment coming to life on a spinning mannequin: first a digital grid drapes the figure, which is transformed into a solid grey garment, and then a green/orange/grey woven overcoat or dress. We also see the mannequin and garment on a tablet that a woman is holding.
Two images next to each other: on the left, a closeup of a digital garment on a mannequin, showing woven detail in orange, white, blue, red, and green. On the right, a woman holds a tablet in front of a naked mannequin. On the tablet screen we see this same garment on the mannequin.
Two images next to each other: on the left, a mannequin in a digital garment: a long dress or overcoat with wide lapels that is woven in green, cream, and burnt orange. The mannequin stands before a pale blue backdrop. On the right, a man with a red beard holds a tablet up to a naked mannequin. On the tablet screen, we see the same garment on the mannequin.

Digital design can offer new solutions for efficiency across studio resources. “We usually do a sketch, develop a pattern, cut it out, and then render it with materials to fit onto a model—which we then alter back into the pattern to make samples,” she explains. Going digital changes the dynamics of this process and saved Bethany and her team time and energy.

An animation explains how the digital garments work: Azure spatial anchors allow for 360 degree views, real-time interactions, and multi-user collaborations on a garment.

Bethany has seen the way a digital collection could present new opportunities for fashion in the future “With what we do, people can only see the garments if they’ve come as a buyer to our showroom or if they’ve come to the show. This way, more people can access our designs and styles digitally.”

And she’s excited about the potential accessibility that digital collections could offer, opening doors to a broader and more diverse audience.

Fashion becomes more inclusive to everyone...It’s important to me to focus on philosophy and a mindset, not just on selling clothes.

Bethany Williams
A closeup of a garment shows fine strands of thread or cloth in many colors, woven together on top of a UPC bar code. Next to this, is a graphite sketch of a short jacket.
A male mannequin is covered in a digital grid outlining the dimensions of a garment: trousers and a short jacket with buttons down the front.
A mannequin posed in front of a light blue backdrop is dressed in a digital garment: a woven suit in colors of green, burnt orange, cream, yellow, and blue.