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Katharine Hamnett to deliver keynote speech at Pure London

Lauretta Roberts
08 January 2019

Iconic designer and activist Katharine Hamnett is promising to delivery a "hard-hitting" keynote speech about the fashion industry when takes to the stage at Pure London next month.

Hamnett is headlining the content stream of the women's and men's trade show and will be interviewed on-stage by Anne Lise Kjaer.

Hamnett, who holds a CBE, will discuss her career, her pioneering work on sustainability and the relaunch of her brand in today's market. The interview will take place on Sunday 10 February at 3.20pm.

A graduate of Central Saint Martins, Katharine Hamnett launched her brand in 1979 and went on to gain the spotlight with her bold slogan t-shirts in the 1980s bearing legends such as CHOOSE LIFE, EDUCATION NOT MISSILES and WORLDWIDE NUCLEAR BAN NOW.

By 1984 her collections for men and women were sold in 700 of the leading boutiques worldwide and she became the first person to win the British Fashion Council’s “British Fashion Designer of the Year”.

Her fans included pop group WHAM! (who famously wore her CHOOSE LIFE t-shirts in their Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go video), Princess Diana, Boy George and Madonna. By the 1990s the brand was a major exporter.

The environment has always played a major role in Hamnett's work and in 1989 she carried out major research into the industry and was horrified at its polluting effects. She tried to exert pressure on suppliers and licensees to reduce their impact on the planet and to behave more ethically.

Ultimately though, she was ahead of her time, and being unable to affect the change she wanted, she wound down her label. Now, however, with sustainability high on the agenda, Hamnett has decided to make a comeback.

In 2017 she relaunched Katharine Hamnett London with reissues of many of her archive pieces, along with a wide selection of new designs, which are all ethically produced in Italy.

“The inventor of the slogan T-shirt, an icon of the1980’s and an early champion of sustainability in the fashion industry, Pure London is delighted to welcome Katharine to our February show as we continue our own movement for sustainability through the Power of One campaign,” said the show's managing director Julie Driscoll.

Pure London, Pure MAN and sourcing show Pure Origin will take place at London Olympia on 10-12 February.

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