In the latest episode of our A Future World podcast series, the latex shapeshifter and recycled textile obsessive discuss what needs to change in the industry
Though their designs are visually worlds apart – with Bethany Williams weaving a colourful patchwork of paintbox textiles, and Anna Gloria Flores’ forging garments from a liquified alternate dimension for her AGF Hydra label – the designers came together to discuss the future of social media for the second of our A Future World podcasts, out now.
In the episode, hosted by Dazed Digital’s fashion features editor Emma Davidson, the duo talk about navigating the industry and finding your voice within it; aligning their brand values in tandem with what the climate emergency demands; how their labels might provide a blueprint for others wanting to set up new systems for their brands with less wasteful production; and how the digitisation of fashion weeks is (thankfully) subverting the industry’s long-standing aura of exclusivity.
For Williams, who took the pandemic as an opportunity to move back to a small, rural community and out of the city – and will be going one step further with a stint in an eco village soon – working with local makers is key to a brighter fashion future. She has been thinking a lot about “how technology can be a nurturing tool, together with a holistic approach (of) pure observation and connection with nature. How these two things can join together in order to create a future that is more sustainable and more aware… I don’t think personal growth and creative growth needs to be linear.”
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For Flores, a period of working with the late Lee Alexander McQueen when she was starting out has always shaped her perspective of fashion as an art form that can channel “your shadows and your demons” – but the Italian artist and fashion designer also found, initially at least, the rest of the industry a difficult place to navigate. Now, much like Williams, she’s channelled her negative energy into a more positive space, working towards what she believes in strongly through her futuristic, surreal latex-wear and visual projects.
“Now more than ever, the conversation is becoming more and more urgent”, she says on the podcast. “I find myself wondering, why are we even so obsessed with indulging these extremely damaging, extremely self-absorbed practices? What if we just rethink the structure altogether? What if we start from zero again? What is it that we need to keep? And what is it that we can just give up? Really, what we can keep is the incredible power of fashion to create stories and to communicate intentions.”
Both fashion futurists in their own ways, Williams and Hydra have started their own system changes from scratch – could you? Essential listening for anyone looking to break into fashion, hear Bethany Williams and AGF Hydra go head to head below.