Describing the inspiration behind the project, Bethany said: “The Magpie Project is a charity that supports women and children under five in temporary, unsuitable or no accommodation. The Women’s Institute community creates a personal blanket for every baby born into the Magpie Family. A blanket is so much more than a piece of fabric, it is a feeling of comfort and shelter and I wanted that feeling to be at the heart of this capsule collection.”
Handcrafted in London, the nine up-cycled blanket coats Bethany has designed are available in three different jacket styles. Each garment is conceptualised by allocating a specific blanket to each style of jacket based on its weight, thickness and colour. The outer material is the blanket wool for optimal insulation with a 100% organic cotton lining, sourced from Wales. Each element of these coats has a history. From the UK sourced organic cotton insulation to the handmade wooden buttons made by craftsman Spencer Martin from London Green Wood, a not-for-profit cooperative, using Hackney grown wood or waste wood from local tree surgeons.
Drawing on her inspiration, the collection saw Bethany dive into the historical heritage of vintage and antique wool blankets from across the UK. All the blankets are carefully sourced from vintage sellers, whether that’s Antiques Markets or car boot sales. Steeped in history, each blanket sourced tells a story from the textile and weaving techniques, to the county, town or village it was made in. One of her favourite pieces sourced for the collection was found on a pitch black frosty morning at Sunbury Antiques Market at Kempton Racecourse. With her phone torch as her only source of light she came across a rare and usually very expensive Welsh, patterned wool blanket with brightly coloured pink and orange patches.
With this collection, the story continues, as each blanket is given a new lease of life through Bethany’s artistic vision and mastering of design-led up-cycling techniques, which created this capsule collection. Shapes for the details on each garment come from historical research into children’s wear that she explored with the V&A Museum of Childhood. The complimentary colour palettes, slightly oversized fit and skilful patchwork techniques all create a unique, bespoke-feel to each garment.
20% of the profits from this collection available at Selfridges, will be donated to The Magpie Project via The Bethany Williams Benevolent Fund, a fund set up by The Magpie Project and Bethany Williams London.