LFW SS24: Ashley Williams

MAKING her comeback to the London Fashion Week Schedule, Ashley Williams decided to return with a collection that questioned the end of the world.

While spring-summer collections are usually laced with florals, hints of holiday and oodles of femininity, the London-based designer decided to distort our view through clothes that mixed the past with the present – quite apt after a two-year hiatus.

Like many labels, the two-years of covid pulled the rug from under many people’s feet and left them creative but not profitable. Despite causing constant stirs and introducing new trends that were boldly paraded through the capital’s streets and found themselves heavily-liked on social media, Williams’ takeover of London ‘it’ girls wardrobes was put on pause.

But she’s back now and supported by Fashion East‘s new XLNC programme funded by UGG; that aims to help previously supported brands to gain momentum and to carry them over to the next step.

So with financial support, London’s favourite design disruptor is back. Exploring the concept of pre-and post-civilisation through a medieval lens, Williams took the idea of adaptable consumerism as her guide to create pieces.

Think altered Hello Kitty, baby jumpers repurposed into headwear and dresses adorned with religious symbolism, yoga poses and embryos.

Narcissism even made its way into the collection, which the designer mocked with I <3 Me graphics on caps, tights, sweatpants and bright pink UGGS. Unlike her previous offerings from the past decade, her kitschy, tongue-and-cheek touch had grown up and evolved with her.

It was still there but it was more thought through and referential – take the masks inspired by 16th century women but were reimagined now with the purpose of keeping anonymity in a world of facial recognition.

Williams has been missed and her SS24 collection was a welcomed and heavily applauded reintroduction for her namesake label. While she may have grown up and her clothes too, what hasn’t changed is her ability to create bold pieces that give you a license to add a touch of rebellion to your outfit.

by Imogen Clark