With any luck, Sunday will be the day that football officially comes home, and on that day the city will be a sea of St George Cross flags.
Today, however, Coal Drops Yard reveals a flag extravaganza of a more colourful kind, with the unveiling of the second in its flag installation series, this time created in partnership with London’s conscious fashion poster girl Bethany Williams.
The installation is an extension of the ‘All Our Stories’ fashion collection the sustainable designer and humanitarian released at London Fashion Week in June, which took inspiration from a series of storytelling workshops that Williams ran with the families of the Magpie Project, a charity that supports women and children who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. 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.
To make the flags, Williams worked with the 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 that focuses on giving those who have finished their sentence a soft landing back into community and paid employment. “They said they really enjoyed making the project,” said Williams. “As the designs were simpler to make than clothes, they were more involved.”
Creating art not clothes is something that Williams, who graduated with a BA in Critical Fine Art Practice from Brighton University before completing an MA at The London College of Fashion in Menswear, has wanted to explore for some time, and the Coal Drops Yard project had instant appeal. “It’s really important to me that it’s accessible and free to all,” said the designer.
The flags themselves are made from an earth-friendly mix of organic cotton and hemp, and when the installation is taken down on September 5, the flags will be cut up and re-purposed into a limited edition, unisex fashion collection, including shirts and matching shorts, tote bags, masks and accessories that will be sold in Kiosk N1C in Coal Drops Yard and Browns Fashion. A proportion of profits, as ever, will go back to the Magpie Project and Making for Change.
“It’s been such a turbulent and hard year for everybody. I think it’s nice to have this release,” said Williams. “Hopefully it’s quite hopeful and uplifting.”