It’s no longer the little black dress that’s a wardrobe staple but the slogan t-shirts that are a must have. Fashion of late has been making quite a statement with slogan t-shirts from Dior’s « We should all be Feminists » tees that walked straight from the ramp into our hearts to Gucci’s new Coco Capitan tees on « What are we going to do with all this future? » that has been driving fashion lovers crazy! But the mother of all slogan t-shirts- quite literally- is making a huge comeback after the nuking Margaret Thatcher with her ‘58% don’t want Pershing’ iconic tee! And this time with her slogan t-shirts really do make a bold statement- on the times & on sustainability. Here’s presenting Katharine Hamnett’s (even Kanye West tapped into her archives for his Yeezy collection) new sustainable fashion line- changing the world a slogan tee at a time!
Pic Source: Katharine Hamnett shot by Rankin for HungerTv.com
Sustainable fashion is slowly but surely gaining ground. The industry is waking up to eco fashion in a big way. Design houses like Burberry, Tom Ford & Vetements have already started moving to 2 collection seasons slowing the pace of fashion. Fast fashion giants like H&M are not merely dabbling in sustainable collections anymore but giving it a sustained shot with their Conscious Collection. Even Zara’s sustainable Join Life collection’s highlight is the ‘Boxes with a past’ campaign to collect old clothes for re-cycling. Renewable materials like Tencel, Monocel, Bionic etc are changing the sustainable fashion scene with mainstream brands investing in them. Sustainable fashion start-ups like Brooklyn based NIA are further hotting up the scene with pioneering techniques like 3D printing being used to create affordable eco fashion. And while that is where the sustainable fashion industry is headed, changing consumer perceptions are helping too! Eco-fashion is not longer considered brown & boring with brands like W.Y.L.D.E & Reformation hotting up the scene! And now even the slogan t-shirts are catching on fast!
S for Slogan T-shirts, Sustainability & Sexy!
Fashion has always been not only a commentary on the times but a big medium of protest, and slogan t-shirts are the biggest arsenal of shots fired at powers that be! One of the first names to redefine the purpose of the t-shirt is Katharine E. Hamnett recipient of the prestigious CBE award for her services to the fashion industry. She is an English fashion designer best known for her political t-shirts and her ethical business philosophy. And best known for bombarding Margaret Thatcher with her nuke protest slogan t-shirt at an official 10 Downing Street reception! And today the designer is back with a bang combining her cause art with sustainability with a fresh line of slogan t-shirts and other clothing made of organic cotton, pesticide free silk and recycled polyester.
Katharine Hamnett rose to prominence as one the flag bearers of sustainable fashion alongside Vivienne Westwood, Livia Firth, Stella McCartney, with the launch of her own fashion label built on sustainability. Her political beliefs manifested themselves literally in her designs when in 1983 she created the immensely popular printed silk t-shirt which reach in big block letter ‘Choose Life’. Adorned by several pop celebrities like George Michael from Wham and Roger Taylor of Queen it marked the start of a revolution- protest fashion. With the idea of printing protest slogans in huge fonts that cannot be ignored, Hamnett designed various slogan tees over the course of her career branding herself as fashion’s most political designer.
And then came the shift to sustainability. With experience came the understanding that slogan t-shirts are great but they have to be backed with more concrete action and which is when Katharine turned her attention to the material story. Research conducted in 1989 revealed that pesticide poisoning in cotton-growing regions, and sweatshop labour were a major part of the textiles industry. Coupled with her shift to humanist philosophies like Buddhism, and a trip to Mali with Oxfam in 2003 where she saw how growing organic cotton had benefited farmers, Hammett has since then been tirelessly working to steer the fashion industries off polluting materials and unethical manufacturing methods. Cotton production requires a huge amount of water and in order to meet the ever burgeoning demand farmers go over board with pesticide use. These harmful substances not only contaminate ground water, but become trapped in the atmosphere as greenhouse gasses.
Reluctant to make a living at the price of environmental degradation and human suffering Hamnett in 2005 relaunched her line under stricter ethical guidelines, including manufacturing and agricultural practices and has been since campaigning major changes in the way the fashion industry functions.
Enter Slogan T-shirts 2.0 in new sustainable avatar
Katharine’s latest collection launched on her website is a full scale sustainable materials affair and the highlight for us of course are the slogan t-shirts. The collection couldn’t have had better timing with Britain evaluating Brexit and Trump at the helm of world affairs! Her iconic CHOOSE LOVE tee is back in a sustainable avatar and from Pershing the political context has changed to CANCEL BREXIT. The slogan t-shirts are made of certified 100% organic cotton made in a wind-powered factory. And to top it they’re all for various causes and charities that Katharine Hamnett supports. The remaining collection too boasts of sustainable materials like recycled polyester and pesticide free silk.
Follow the Katharine Hamnett collection here:
The woman behind the cause
Katharine Hamnett is a proud greenie whose eco-friendly practices include recycling, composting and carbon cutting. She owns a hybrid car, walks everywhere she can, gets her clothes and other things recycled and sustainably manages her waste. One of her staple practices is mending old clothes! Driven by her strong beliefs in ethical practices and sustainability she is causing the new wave of change in the world of fashion with her collaboration with YMC. She’s inspired a generation of budding designers who are increasingly going the eco fashion way.
Like with everything else UrbanMeisters why can’t protest fashion become sustainable?! Katharine’s eco-friendly slogan t-shirts are a powerful idea that can change protest fashion for good. So if a slogan tee is going to be your wardrobe staple think sustainable! We leave you with some handy tips on how to make your wardrobe eco-friendly here.