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Fashion designer Katharine Hamnett pictures (pic) and photo gallery, designs photos.
Birth name: Katharine Eleanor Appleton.
Born: August 16, 1947.
Katharine E. Hamnett is a British fashion designer best known for her political t-shirts and her ethical business philosophy. She graduated from the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design.
Hamnett founded the Katharine E. Hamnett clothier in 1979. In the early 1980s Hamnett's oversized t-shirts with large block letter slogans were adopted by pop bands including Wham!, with her "CHOOSE LIFE" slogans prominently displayed in the music video for "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go", and "FRANKIE SAY RELAX", adopted by Frankie Goes to Hollywood with the popularity of their hit song "Relax"; the latter also popularized shirts with the slogans "Frankie Say War Hide Yourself" and "Frankie Say Arm The Unemployed".
At one point, Hamnett met with then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher wearing her own t-shirt with the slogan "58% Don't Want Pershing", a reference to polls showing public opposition in the United Kingdom against the basing of United States nuclear weapons on Pershing missiles. In 2003, at a London fashion show, Hamnett's catwalk models wore shirts with "No War, Blair Out", a reference to the looming invasion of Iraq. More recently, models such as Naomi Campbell have appeared in Hamnett shirts bearing the slogans "Use Condoms" and "Peace". Hamnett has since expressed scepticism that t-shirt slogans accomplish anything concrete, and suspects that for some, the slogans are a substitute for action.
Notably, the "Choose Life" slogan, which in the context of the day was directed at drug abuse and suicide, has since been adopted by the anti-abortion movement, even appearing on Florida license plates.
In 1984, Hamnett won the Designer of the Year award at the first ever British Fashion Awards, and in 1996, was voted Britain's favourite designer by readers of Cosmopolitan. The company's London shops have been designed by Norman Foster and Nigel Coates.
Beginning in 1989, with research showing pesticide poisoning in cotton-growing regions, and sweatshop labour a major part of the textiles industry, Hamnett began lobbying for major changes in the way the industry operated. After disappointment with the results, Hamnett terminated most of her licensing arrangements, and in 2005 relaunched her line under stricter ethical guidelines, including manufacturing and agricultural practices.