Ashley Williams talks fashion and Live+Loud

Ashley Williams is one of the Britain’s most promising young fashion designers. Her designs are highly acclaimed and have a celebrity following, worn by the likes of Alexa Chung, Pixie Geldof and Georgia May Jagger. This weekend Ashley  is in Birmingham, with a special instillation showing as part of Selfridge’s Live + Loud festival.

I was lucky enough to have a chat with the very busy lady as she arrived for the festival. We chatted about all things Art, fashion and fishnet tights…

Ashley Williams Picture

Fashion-mommy: I believe you have just shown your third collection at London Fashion Week – how was that?

Ashley Williams: It was really good – working with Newgen for the third time. It is enjoyable, but when you are showing on the final day you don’t really get that much time to experience the week as such, it is all work and final prep. That said, that’s the way I like it.

FM: You say that your interest in fashion was first influenced by punk and rock, is that still the case?

AW: For the last collection yes, it was still very important as a starting reference point, but, in general it is not always important now, but it definitely got me interested.

Ashley Williams Look 7

FM: Who were your design influences then/now?

AW: My influences for a collection can come from just about anywhere, it can be hard to pinpoint just one thing. Lots of things come together to create the influence – it can be a person, a place, an object, a place in time or an emotion. I think my favourite influence in terms of a designer is Stephen Sprouse. I like how he meshed Art and fashion together. A lot of people say fashion isn’t an art form, but I think he proved that it most definitely is.


FM: I was interested to see your collection is stocked in Hong Kong. There does seem to be Japanese/Far east influences in some of your work – is this a big influence?

AW: I did do a collaboration with Coca Cola that was very influenced graphically by Japan and Korea, I loved the way it looked.  There is definitely a market for my kind of stuff in Japan and I love the way they look and dress, and also their outlook on new designers. The Japanese are not scared of new designers, they are totally open to new ideas and don’t need them to be validated as I sometimes think is the case in London.

Ashley Williams Look 8

FM: You have a celebrity following, who else would you love to wear you designs?

AW: Lana Del Rey, that would be lovely – if she ever did.


FM: Tell me a little about your Live+Loud instillation (in collaboration with ICA and Selfridges).

AW: The idea started with a print from my latest collection, a fishnet tights print. The print is blown up to be big (it is a small print on clothing) so that it distorts and changes it so that it looks different. I wanted to take the print out of context so that it no longer looks like fishnet tights at all, but graphically it still looks nice standing alone. In addition we have a film of a friend of mine wearing a dress with the original print to contrast. There will also be other prints and objects too.

FM: Why did you want to be involved in Live+Loud?

AW: When I spoke to Matt (Williams) from ICA it just sounded so interesting. I’ve never been to Birmingham before and liked the idea of doing something away from London. Also there were a lot of people involved who I had worked with before and who I admire and respect, so this was a big pull for me.

FM: What do you think of Birmingham – first impressions?

AW: I’ve only been here a short while, but I definitely want to take a look around Birmingham, from what I’ve seen so far it looks great. The part of Birmingham the festival is based in is full of old, industrial buildings which I find really beautiful, so I’m looking forward to seeing more.

FM: What are you most looking forward to about Live+Loud?

AW: Seeing it all finished and then seeing people’s reactions to it. I think it is going to be a really fun weekend.

You can find out more about Live+Loud by visiting the Selfridges website here or visiting the ICA site here.


*With thanks to Clive Reeves PR and Ashley Williams.

Selfridges ‘Live + Loud’ festival – October 1 – October 4, 2015

Following on from what has been the most memorable weekend in Birmingham’s recent history, Britain’s most talented artists, photographers, musicians and designers are getting ready to celebrate the diversity and culture of the 2nd City at an event  being hosted by Selfridges – the Live + Loud festival.

Live + Loud festival is taking place this week, from October 1 to October 4, with some of the best home-grown and national talent onboard, thanks to an exclusive collaboration between the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London (The ICA), Birmingham’s Punch Records, Birmingham City University (BCU) and a host of top fashion and beauty brands. Faces and talent to look out for across the four days will include fashion designer Ashley Williams, celebrity photographer Tyrone Lebon, film duo Tim & Barry, British Soul Singer Jacob Banks and plenty of up-and-coming home-grown talent who will be starring in the festival.

Selfridges exterior rs

Jacob Banks

Jacob Banks

The project has been created by Selfridges to celebrate the city of Birmingham not just as a centre of creativity, but also as a source of inspiration across the country. The event will feature commissioned works of art, photography and live music, which will draw upon Birmingham’s rich heritage. There will also be beauty and fashion pop-ups and specialist talks in store, which will resonate strongly with the city’s underground music and fashion scenes which will all be celebrated.

Visitors to both the iconic store and the special ICA curated exhibition staged in the restored industrial space in Floodgate Street in Digbeth, will be treated to an array of fashion, art, music, food and beauty activities.

Here is a run-down of the events taking place:

ICA Off-Sit

The ICA Off-Site exhibition will be open from October 2 until October 4, and visitors will be able to see work by top photographer Tyrone Lebon, commercial artist Fergadelic, Filmmakers Tim & Barry / Just Jam, self-taught artist Ben Sansbury and one of the most promising young British fashion designers, Ashley Williams.

The artists have been linking heavily with Britain’s second city, and aim to reference recent trends in contemporary urban sub-cultures. The off-site venue will feature the temporary exhibition and music programme that draw on Birmingham’s mix of industrial and post-war brutalist architecture, celebrating the city as the centre of creativity and a source of inspiration. You can find the full timetable here.

Ashley Williams design

Ashley Williams design


Live + Loud in store – beauty, fashion, food and events

Top fashion brands will be landing in Birmingham for the festival, including top make-up artists from Charlotte Tilbury arriving in a special make-over taxi (I will be reviewing this later in the week), a Cath Kidston fashion illustrator, the Jimmy Choo Cinderella Shoe being on display, and a Bollywood Pop-Up cinema, to name but a few.

Cinderella x Jimmy Choo-2

For lovers of celebrity make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury, there will be a chance to get an exclusive and complimentary ‘Quick Trick’ treatment in their Tilbury Taxis, which will be parked in Rotunda Square between October between Friday, 2nd October and Sunday, 4th October.

Throughout the four days, there will be a chance for shoppers to see the exclusive Jimmy Choo Cinderella shoe on Level 4, new cult brand This is A Love Song will be launched on Level 3, and denim lovers will be able to get their jeans from Diesel, Religion and Replay customised.

Adam Hockney, general manager of Selfridges Birmingham, said: “As you can see, the Live + Loud event is set to be huge for not just the city, and we hope we get visitors coming along to the store, and the Off-Site venue to catch at least one of the amazing events we have got going on. This is the biggest event Selfridges Birmingham is hosting this year and we are just thrilled to be showcasing such talent, diversity and creativity. We are proud, and honoured, to be working along the ICA, Punch Records, BCU, our fantastic beauty, fashion brands and so much emerging talent, that this really is an event not to be missed.”

For more details, visit