If Coal Drops Yard wasn't trendy before, it certainly will be now. Serving as the chosen backdrop revealing Bethany Williams' first-ever public display of her rich and colourful artwork, the sustainable designer-cum-artist has chosen to unveil a series of brightly painted flags that have been hung all over the contemporary shopping space.
Launched 9 July, the installation made up of 90 flags entitled All Our Stories is a continuation of Williams' acclaimed fashion collection, which debuted at London Fashion Week earlier this year. On display for the rest of Summer, the exhibit will be on show until 5 September, bringing colour to the brutalist-style backdrop that surrounds the area before being given a second life as a limited edition genderless fashion collection, comprised of shirts with matching shorts, tote bags and various accessories. What's more is the collection will also be sold in Coal Drops Yard's very own Kiosk N1C, meaning the artwork will come full circle. It'll also be shoppable at Browns Fashion.
Inspired by a series of collaborative storytelling workshops that Williams led with families from the East London grassroots organisation, The Magpie Project and London College of Fashion's Making for Change, the tale of how All Our Stories came about is quite literally in the name; stories from the everyday lives of ordinary people that belong to the aforementioned organisations. Thanks to illustrator Melissa Kitty Jarram - who Williams has teamed up with to create the flags - those stories have now become a series of artworks that can be experienced by all those who stand in their presence at Coal Drops Yard.
Speaking of the privilege of being able to tell these stories through colourful artworks, Bethany Williams said in a statement:
'I'm really excited to share this public art installation at Coal Drops Yard which is an area I have always been very interested to explore. It's such a joy to be able to celebrate all the beautiful communities' stories in a public space.'
Bethany Williams is the second artist to take on the summer flag art commission for Coal Drops Yard, which first launched in 2020 with Lauren Godfrey. This annual project places decommissioning at the forefront of the considerations, with the artwork being the first life this fabric's been given. In true Bethany Williams style, the flags are created from an organic Hemp material that is 100% recyclable, a more environmentally friendly approach to flag making than the currently dominant production method, which uses either Nylon or PVC materials.
James Rayner, Retail Lead at King's Cross, said of the project:
'We are delighted to be working with Bethany Williams for our latest summer flag art commission for Coal Drops Yard, an annual project that reflects the ethos of the area and our commitment to becoming a more environmentally friendly destination. King's Cross is deeply rooted in creativity, arts and culture, so we are proud to deliver yet another vibrant and inspirational visual artwork for visitors to enjoy as London emerges from the lockdown. Along with the eclectic mix of retailers and restaurants, the new installation is another great reason to visit King's Cross this summer.'
Ever since the recent development of the Kings Cross area, which saw Coal Drops Yard set up base next to London's acclaimed fashion school Central Saint Martins (also a relatively new asset to the area), Kings Cross has been keen to promote a greener environment for all with Williams' All Our Stories flag display happily coinciding with the area's launch of SuperNature, a King's Cross-wide initiative that aims to unearth and celebrate ideas that positively impact people and the planet.
Feel as though your life has been devoid of colour ever since the beginning of the global pandemic? Williams' flags are sure to lift your spirits - while also telling the stories of those whose voices have been overlooked.