Weekend Woman: Katherine Hamnett


There’s been much talk recently of T shirts with slogans on. Last week Jane went to a press launch (of this book) and met up with the wonderful Katherine Hamnett, creator of the original slogan T shirt. Coincidently I’d been thinking about Katherine after seeing her slogan T shirts at the Design Museum exhibition Women Fashion Power.

All these word-covered T shirts we’re used to seeing today are down to Katherine. She practically invented the protest shirt.  Grown up readers will remember her meeting Mrs Thatcher in her Say No To Pershing Missiles T shirt, but younger readers need to know that she was really brave to do this, people just didn’t do that sort of personal protest when meeting Prime Ministers back in the 80s, she led the way. Rumour has it she also invented distressed denim too, but I need a denimhead to confirm that for me. either way she is a visionary designer, a committed ethical and environmental campaigner within the industry  and we’d quite like to see a bit more of her. It feels to me like we need Katherine’s protest Ts even more than ever nowadays.

You might like to know you can buy Katherine’s slogans T shirts from her new website, in case you’re feeling gently militant.

Image via The Independent 


  • steffi says:

    My ex-boss. And she is The Boss, literally. Endless energy, endless vision, tireless, simply tireless campaigner for a greener, better world and incidentally more beautiful world via her designs. She was my boss but also a tremendous role-model and inspiration. LONGLIVEKATHARINE.

  • Amanda says:

    Well said Steffi, had no idea she was your boss! She is fab Ax

  • Oh what a lovely comment!! Great post, she’s also an expert scarf-tyer (sp?) by the looks of it…

  • Mark says:

    Yes, where indeed would many brands be without the slogan T-Shirt. Whole brands have been built on that one item!!
    As a bonafide denimhead I feel qualified to comment on the distressed denim debate.
    I was lucky enough to work for Massimo Osti and very impressed when he told me at the time that he had invented the technique for stone-washing denim and other fabrics. After working with Massimo I moved on To Marithè et Francois Girbaud, couturiers of denim, and guess what, Francois also made the same claim…Adriano Goldschmeid the same claim in an article I read recently…maybe it’s just one fashion mystery that will remain unsolved… :)

  • amanda says:

    Mark! That is just fantastic….what a great comment! And I can quite believe it too…..Ax

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