Fashion Biography

Katharine Hamnett, Fashion Designer


Katharine Hamnett is an iconic British Fashion Designer, with international status. Catwalk shows have been held across the world in London, Paris, Milan, New York, Tokyo, Stockholm and San Paolo. Katharine"s international clientele include celebrities, film stars and musicians from Mick Jagger to Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna, David Bowie, Bob Geldof and Minnie Driver.

Katharine had a well travelled upbringing, settling in London to study fashion design. In 1969, Katharine graduated from Central Saint Martins School of Art, by the age of twenty one, Katharine had set up business.

Following the launch of "Katharine Hamnett London Menswear" and "Katharine Hamnett Denim", in 1984 Katharine received the Designer of the year award from the British Fashion Council. Katharine has also received "Cotton designer of the year" 1982, "Bath Menswear Award" 1984. Katharine has also received awards for advertising campaigns in which she launched the careers of Ellen Von Unwert, Juergen Teller and Terry Richardson. Other successes include revolutionising Smedley.

Katharine worked with architect Norman Foster on the design of her first London store in 1986 situated at Brompton Cross, followed by her Sloane Street store in 1988 designed initially by Nigel Coates followed by David Chipperfield.

Throughout Katharine"s career she has always tried to be ethical, whilst remaining a successful designer. In 1989 Katharine commissioned research into the impact of the clothing industry and discovered a catashtrophe. The clothing industry was environmentally and ethically untenable. 10,0000 deaths a year from accidental pesticide poisoning, a million long term acute poisoning (since then the figures have doubled), desertification and long term contamination to aquifers and rivers and a huge amount of people working in conditions tantamount to slavery.

Katharine has introduced many innovations into the clothing and textile business, instigated new styles and trends in fashion. These trends include: power dressing spearheading the return to tailoring, the military and utilitarian look, stretch denim garment dying and retro. Styles include boiler suits, trench coats as dress, bubble skirts low waist jeans and condom pockets on boxer shorts. 

  No body does denim like Hamnett "Suzy Menzes Herald Tribune

One of the most copied designers in the world "Sarah Mower

Innovations include the need to use organic cotton, charitable contributions on products, stonewashing and space dying. Katharine also cleaned up the method of protest using a now universally adopted typeface to highlight world issues. Tee shirt slogans include:

Choose Life

50% don"t want Pershing

World Peace Now

Clean Up or Die

No War

Say No to The Euro

Preserve the Rainforests

Education Not Missiles

Worldwide Nuclear Ban Now

Use A Condom

Save Africa

Blair Out

Other campaigns included the "Cancel the Third World Debt" Autumn Winter 1990 catwalk show, "Green Cotton by the year 2000 "Spring Summer 1991 which was presented in a short film, directed by Ellen Von Unwerth and starring Naomi Campbell, due to the Gulf War Katharine wanted to invent new ways of presenting a collection.

 In 1997 Katharine addressed more social and environmental issues including "Save Tibet"  (for Dalai Lama) and "Worldwide Nuclear Ban Now".

Katharine received an honorary professorship from Central Saint Martins College of Art for her continuous expertise in Fashion. Including her fashion label Katharine Hamnett has launched tie, shoe, and knitwear, underwear, loungewear childrenswear and eyewear licenses worldwide.

2003 Autumn Winter 2003 Womenswear collection was shown at London      Fashion   Week, the "Stop the War" T shirts featured on the catwalk, this resulted in UK and International newspaper coverage including front pages worldwide. Andy Birkin from The Stop the War Coalition commented that this tee instigated the 30,000,000 demonstration that took place the following year.

Katharine is invited by OXFAM to visit African cotton farmers in Mali, to promote Fair Trade. Katharine met with African farmers and visited government officials to help raise awareness, photographs and interviews appeared in key UK and International Newspapers and Television Worldwide.

2004 Spring Summer 2004, Katharine Hamnett on schedule at London Fashion Week, featured amongst others Naomi Campbell wearing "USE A CONDOM" and "SAVE AFRICA" tees aimed at raising awareness of using protection, because there is no cure.

Since 1989 Katharine Hamnett has been trying to change the industry from within, working with normal manufacturers, to help farmers convert to organic, Katharine wanted to make contributions made from sales of each pair of jeans, this has proved impossible, Katharine was reduced to taking a Channel 4 crew to one distributor to collect a cheque owed to African cotton farmers.

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By Courtney Lynne
I am an analyst by profession and researching is my passion. I also love to share my knowledge. Contact me on Google + and Twitter. Find us on Google+



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