Designer Katharine Hamnett and U.K. supermarket chain Tesco team up to bring an eco-friendly line to shoppers.
LONDON — Katharine Hamnett wants to share her love of organic fashion with everyone.
The British designer introduced Choose Love Designed by Katharine E Hamnett, an accessibly priced fair trade organic clothing line for women, men and children, in 40 Tesco supermarket stores in the U.K. last month. She also plans to open shop-in-shops for the brand in the near future.
"Everyone is looking for organic cotton," said Hamnett. "People are worried about the things they put on their bodies."
Terry Green, chief executive officer of Tesco clothing, said in a statement, "It's part of our strategy to offer customers more choice. [Choose Love] is affordable because Tesco wants to make organics accessible to all."
The partnership is part of an initiative announced in January by Tesco to spend $985.9 million to cut prices on energy-efficient goods and to cut down on the chain's environmental impact.
For Hamnett, the idea for the line came about after a trip to Africa. Hamnett visited Malawi in 2003 with the British charity Oxfam and witnessed the poverty of farmers there.
"I saw the most incredible suffering," she said. "You'd have to be inhuman not to want to help."
Choose Love, whose moniker plays on Hamnett's iconic Eighties Choose Life T-shirts, uses organic fabric free of pesticides, chlorine and heavy metals. The 18-piece collection currently includes slogan T-shirts — including a children's shirt emblazoned with "Save the Future for Me" — jersey tops, polo shirts and dresses. Prices range from about $10 at current exchange for a T-shirt to approximately $29 for a women's hooded cotton sweater.
"It's not 'eco' looking," said Hamnett of the line. "It's sophisticated and stylish. The fact that it's ethical is incidental. I only design one way."
Continuing the line's ethical theme, items are displayed on recycled plastic hangers. Men's jeans will be added to the collection in June, and home products are due in September.
Hamnett believes customer satisfaction with lines such as Choose Love will convince retailers to go green permanently."The only thing that will make people change their way of operating is if they can make money," said the designer, who has been championing the use of organic cotton since the mid-Nineties.
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