Colour and labour intensive textile techniques are the key aspects of Bethan's creations, as well as personal and meaningful narratives. She designs for a woman who is feminine, fearless and with a sense of humour.
Drawing on her interests in retro aesthetics and interiors, Bethan’s final collection, “NUKE KID ON THE BLOCK”, began with a hunt to find 1970s bathrooms full of vibrant colour and intricate textures. Her own Grandma’s bubble-gum pink en-suite proved one of the most intriguing, with it’s floral tiles and bulb shaped taps, that later went on to inform silhouette and print.
As her design philosophy often incorporates narrative, Bethan was drawn to stories of Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp. This was an anti-nuclear community formed by women from all walks of life in the 1980s. To combine this fascinating subject with bathrooms, Bethan created her own narrative that she aimed to convey through her work. Her collection tells the story of a young woman who goes to stay with her mysterious Great Aunt, whose house has not changed since the late 1970s; this is due to her Great Aunt’s involvement in the protests at Greenham Common in the early 1980s.
Bethan saw creating a fashion collection as an opportunity to extensively explore her passion for textiles and to exhaust a range of techniques through experimentation. Her prints came from early collages of pot pourri, resulting in camouflage-style florals in vivid hues that run throughout her collection. She also used tiles from her Grandma’s bathrooms as a digital print in order to give her work personal meaning. Experimentation with screen printing in foils and flock paper allowed for a unique representation of bathrooms metallic and fuzzy texture. This was further explored with laser cut leather and hand stitched faux fur, which became the main feature of Bethan’s collection.
The silhouettes of “NUKE KID ON THE BLOCK” were relatively simple, allowing for textiles and colours to take centre stage. Nevertheless, the seemingly generic shapes give the collection wide appeal and make it easy to wear. Army shirts, cargo pants and oversized sheepskin coats worn by Greenham Common women provided the basic silhouette and garment types for the collection. Bethan then added drop sleeves and straps for both decoration and funtions, inspired by 1980s mainstream and punk fashion. Accessories added to the collection’s sense of fun, with oversized washbags in faux fur and a scarf sporting the phrase “THINK OUTSIDE THE BOMB” providing humour and an even greater sense of fun.