Ashley Williams: The 'Funkyoffish' Designer Pop Stars are Crazy For

by Maggie Dolan
British designer Ashley Williams aka 'Happy Ashley' was propelled into the fashion lexicon after showing her University of Westminster graduate collection in June 2012. The collection's array of Rockabilly whimsy and Americana-inspired prints effortlessly blended with sharp tailoring, earning her a spot in London's young designer incubator, Fashion East, whose alumni include Jonathan Saunders, J.W. Anderson and Meadham Kirchhoff. Adding to the buzz were her socialite-model pals Pixie Geldof and Alice Dellal (who was the face of Chanel at the time), who walked in the debut show.

Pixie Geldof and Alice Dellal walking Williams debut collection in 2012.

Williams' cool-girl kitsch created an instant cult following and the celebrity fans quickly came calling. Her self-defined 'funkyoffish' aesthetic was cat nip for style-conscious pop stars like Rita Ora, Rihanna, Brooke Candy and Harry Styles (the One Direction heart throb even sat front row at her Spring 2014 show). After showing her now-iconic teddy bear bags for Fall 2013, Brit mega model Cara Delevingne was spotted carrying one, making them must-have carryalls.

Rita Ora, Harry Styles and Rihanna are all Ashley Williams fans.

Ashley Williams' graphic prints are Instagram bait. (L-R) Fashion Editor Julia Sarr-Jamos, rapper Brooke Candy and Pretty Little Liars star Ashley Bensemon.

But Williams' popular girl status doesn't detract from her talent. Her latest show at London Fashion Week, marking her third and final season with Fashion East, was a testament to her commercial capability and bright, funky-fresh future. Inspired by Calamity Jane and Southern prairie girls, Williams' signature wit came through in country-quirk, including dungarees, bonnets, horse-head embroideries and bags shaped like Texas -- all pop-perfect for her adoring fan base.

Ashley Williams Fall 2014 Wild West meets Mississippi country girl inspired collection.

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