Hot-fix crystals, pentagrams, and heart-shaped handbags: the London designer debuts her latest collection via a ‘bratty, bad taste’ mini mag
Landing on the fashion scene way back in 2013, Ashley Williams has made her mark on London with her bratty, brilliantly bad taste approach to clothes. Taking us back to our messy, incense-filled teen bedrooms pretty much every season, the designer turns out collection after collection filled with so-wrong-they’re-right pieces – consider her slashed tees with spray-painted poodle prints, sperm-covered fleeces, and fuzzy, fugly-cute pentagram-splattered sweaters in sickly shades of sludge green and hot fuchsia if you’re looking for examples.
Where plenty of designers stripped things back for SS21, citing simplicity and comfort as key elements of the clothes they want to wear as we steamroller towards Lockdown: The Sequel, Williams had other ideas. Instead of dialling her new season collection down, she cranked things up to eleven, explaining the turmoil of 2020 has led to her giving less of a shit about criticism. “I used to worry about people’s perception of my work or if an idea was strong enough,” she explains. “But if I want to make a stupid bag that a nine-year-old would carry then fuck it. I can. I will. I don’t care anymore. I know what I like and I have the confidence to realise it. For the first time ever, I feel free.”
With SS21 more of a mish-mash of the clothes she wanted to make than a cohesive collection, Williams dug into her archives, splashing trashy tattoo prints across tights and satin box bags, marijuana leaves across mini mohair jumpers, and cute fluffy kittens, puppies, and vomiting punks (do not adjust your set) across too-small tees. Stepping back into 2020 and the influence of the UnPrEcEdEnTeD TiMeS we find ourselves living through can be felt in oversized tees bearing blown-up bottles of Purell hand sanitiser and her signature crystal hair clips, which this time around read ‘Only Fans’, ‘Send Nudes’, and ‘WAP’. Rounding things off is a baggy long-sleeved tee exclaiming ‘Last chance to escape Planet Earth’ and like, where do we sign up?
Skipping London Fashion Week’s ‘phygital’ edition last month, the whole thing gets its debut via the kind of cut and pasted zine the more creative among us likely sat down to put together in the summer holidays while our mums stressed over the fact we weren’t outside getting any sun. Featuring a series of Williams’ fave girls and familiar faces, check it out in the gallery above.