Sustainability in Fashion: A New Life for Supermarket Packaging
How a chance meeting at a charity foodbank has taken the topic of sustainability in fashion to the next level.
Meet Bethany Williams, a Manx (Isle of Man) native and London-based designer finding sustainable solutions through innovative designs. The 28-year-old is gaining recognition in the fashion industry for her talents and efforts to focus on urgent socio-political problems.
Bethany’s latest sustainable fashion collaboration with food store giant Tesco led to her current collection ‘Breadline’ which highlights and helps find solutions to the hidden hunger in the UK.
Combining an entrepreneurial mindset with a helping hand, Bethany has 5 tips for any socially conscious start-up.
1. Get up and get out
You might think that a business venture must begin and end behind a computer screen, exploring and planning the next step and strategy. But, in fact, there is an endless pool of opportunities away from offices and meeting rooms.
We can easily forget that there are many other areas to explore in search of the next big thing and, for Bethany, she found her next creative adventure in an unlikely place.
“I was volunteering for the Vauxhall Foodbank to see what I could potentially do for the project. I think it is one of the best in the UK. They run a hot breakfast service while families wait for a parcel. So, you can bring your family along and then the whole family can have a hot breakfast while they’re waiting,” says Bethany.
Thanks so much for the feature @notjustalabel repost @bethany_williams_londonâs collection âBreadlineâ highlights hidden hunger in the UK. Developing a collection using waste materials from food banks, given in exchange for fresh fruit and vegetables, Williams goes even further and donates 30% of profits to the Vauxhall food bank, continuing the cycle. Every garment is 100% sustainable and made in the UK, even down to the hand crafted buttons #Sustainability #EmergingDesigners#EthicalFashion #SustainableFashion #bethanywilliams #lcm #lcf #lcfma16 #handmade #handwoven #madeintheuk #organic
2. Be in the right place at the right time
Luck can also have a part to play in our successes and for Bethany it was on her side that day.
“Tesco was actually there. They came to visit to look at how the foodbank ran because they have a big social responsibility department. Niall, who was one of the foodbank managers, gave me his contact details. I later emailed the marketing department and they got back to me straight away. I thought it was going to be difficult but it was actually very easy. The team were very supportive of the idea I pitched them.”
3. Preparation is not always key
We have all experienced that time when our nerves get the better of us or that anxious feeling the night before a big presentation. Spending hours, days or weeks preparing yourself for what’s to come might not always be the best way to make the best impression.
“Tesco actually came into the foodbank to see how it operated and I just approached them with my idea over email which they were very happy to support. It was quite a stress-free collaboration,” says Bethany.
New feature for @vogueparis thanks so much for the support! Kris from @tihmodels wears recycled electrical tape jacket hand woven by @textile_sanpatrignano an amazing organisation which supports the rehabilitation of thousands of people in Italy #bethanywilliams #lfwm #pfw #handwoven #recycled #handmade
A post shared by Bethany Williams (@bethany_williams_london) on
4. Stand for something
It can be very easy to get lost and left behind in a crowd especially in the world of business and fashion. With so many brands and designers from around the world strutting towards the runway, having that little something to distinguish you from the rest can be the success factor you need.
For Bethany, Tesco recognized her unique take on fashion and its ability to make a difference off the runway. “They really believe in supporting and helping the foodbank and its projects combating food poverty in the UK,” says Bethany.
5. See the good in the bad
Today everyone has an opinion and sometimes the feedback can be discouraging. “Everyone’s going to comment on whatever you do, but I feel like I’ve had quite a lot of positive responses. But then, there are going to be people who have their opinions, and they’re completely entitled to. It’s just believing in what you do. Sometimes, if it’s a negative comment against so many positive comments, the negative one will always stick with you, but you’ve got to think past that and think about what the project’s doing for others and you,” says Bethany.
Interested in seeing more? Click here to view Bethany’s Instagram profile.