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Hamnett Reenters Denim With Organic Line

Katharine Hamnett is jumping back into denim.

LONDON — Katharine Hamnett is jumping back into denim.

This story first appeared in the June 26, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The London-based designer, known for her line of ethically produced slogan T-shirts and cotton dresses, will relaunch Katharine E Hamnett Jeans for spring.

Hamnett’s first full denim collection was introduced in 1994 with then cutting-edge advertising campaigns for the line shot by photographers Terry Richardson and Elaine Constantine. The eco-conscious Hamnett stopped producing the collection in 2002. Hamnett’s latest denim offerings, which will bow at the Tranoi trade show in Paris in October, are made from 100 percent organic materials.

“The market demand for sophisticated, organic products right now exceeds supply,” said Hamnett. “We have the product and we have sourced an ethical and environmental supply chain.”

The 21-piece collection will include denim items inspired by Hamnett’s archives, such as high-waisted jeans the designer first produced in 1992 and a boyfriend-style oversize denim jacket reproduced from a 1975 design. Cuts in the collection run from legging-style jeans to flared-leg denims, while colors will range from electric blue to dusky pink.

“[They’re] inspired by the colors we [sent] down the catwalk in our 1984 Fashion Aid show,” said Hamnett, referring to the runway show that spotlighted her iconic slogan T-shirts in bright yellows, blues and oranges.

Ready-to-wear will make up 40 percent of the collection, with pieces such as jumpsuits in a fine, organic cotton that has the appearance of silk, along with organic cotton T-shirts and dresses. Retail prices for the line will run from $70 for a T-shirt to $180 for a pair of jeans and up to $360 for the jumpsuit. Hamnett said she expects to sell 35,000 pieces in the first year and has appointed Namaste to distribute the line in the U.S. and Live Fashion to distribute it in the U.K. and France.

Hamnett has tapped photographer Alex Sturrock to shoot a collection of images to launch the line, with the aim of generating the same kind of buzz as when Terry Richardson’s images were used to promote her original denim line.

“[The campaign will be] cutting-edge, creative, iconoclastic and sexy,” she said.