The inventor of the slogan t-shirt, an icon of the 1980's, and an early champion of sustainability in the fashion industry.
THE EARLY YEARS
Katharine Hamnett was born in 1947. Her father was a diplomat and she was brought up all over Europe. She attended 10 schools including Cheltenham Ladies College.
She studied fashion at Saint Martin’s School of Art and on graduating went into business with her college friend Anne Buck under the Tuttabankem label. The partnership lasted 5 years.
She then worked freelance in London, Paris, Rome, Hong Kong and New York before launching her own label, Katharine Hamnett London, in 1979.
Fashion Aid, was an off-shoot of Band Aid to raise money for victims of famine in Africa. It was a star-studded event taking place at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
Katharine Hamnett created a series of slogan t-shirts for the event including messages to PROTEST AND SURVIVE and to SAVE THE WORLD.
The event featured many more of the world’s best-known fashion designers including Armani and Yves Saint Laurent, with designs presented by top models including Grace Jones, Jerry Hall and Boy George.
Katharine Hamnett Autumn / Winter Collection at the 1986 London Fashion Week
Katharine Hamnett's Spring / Summer Collection from 1989 which was shown at London Fashion Week.
KATHARINE HAMNETT TODAY
Katharine Hamnett has for over three decades made an enormous impact on fashion. She has campaigned endlessly to change the fashion industry from within, getting involved in many eco-friendly initiatives and lectured on sustainability all over the world. She was appointed a CBE in the New Year Honours List in 2010 for services to the fashion industry.
As from 2017 she is bringing her brand back to market. Everything will be sustainably produced in Europe in compliance with EU labour law, and sold via selected retailers internationally and direct to consumer from her own online store.
"The clothing industry is one of the largest industries in the world. It employs one billion people; one in six of the world’s population. It is one of the biggest polluters: it impacts climate change and global warming. Garment workers in many parts of the world still work in conditions tantamount to slavery. We have to make our clothes in a better way.
I am committed to changing the way it works, only making clothes ethically and as environmentally as possible, preserving traditional skills, and showing how it can be done."
Katharine Hamnett, CBE
This exhibit was created by the British Fashion Council in collaboration with Katharine Hamnett and Modus Publicity.
All rights belong to Katharine Hamnett or The British Fashion Council unless otherwise stated. All photographers and models have been credited where known.