Pro-EU demonstrators gather in Parliament Square in London


KATHARINE’S CAUSE: British designer Katharine Hamnett is back in action on the political — and fashion — fronts. The designer — famous for her political and environmental activism over the decades — took part in the People’s March for Europe on Saturday, where thousands gathered at Hyde Park Corner in London and marched through the capital to Parliament Square.

Hamnett spoke alongside singer and songwriter Bob Geldof during the pro-EU rally, and designed a “Cancel Brexit” T-shirt for the cause. The designer said the U.K. needs a second referendum, and called the first one “deeply flawed.”

“People were lied to,” Hamnett said on Saturday. “They were given the wrong information. It’s hard to understand what economic benefit Brexit is offering Britain. And there’s a vast cost. What do we actually get out of it? Why are we leaving the single market? What’s to hate about it? It’s just crazy.”

Another issue dear to Hamnett is sustainability. It’s been 14 years since she’s shown a seasonal collection, and now she’s back with a see-now-buy-now offer that has sustainability at its heart.

Her latest range includes bomber jackets, boiler suits, silk joggers and white T-shirts. The designer revisited her archives and has reissued a few styles, including parkas, padded silk sweatshirts and track pants that are being sold exclusively through her newly launched e-store. Prices range from 80 pounds for a T-shirt to 990 pounds for a padded silk parka coat.

Looks from Katharine Hamnett

Looks from Katharine Hamnett.  Courtesy Photo

“I had a bit of a lightbulb moment when I was consulting for Kanye [West],” said Hamnett. “And I saw how fascinated he was in my archive. He borrowed loads of stuff and tried it on. I thought, ‘Actually, people are right. This stuff is relevant now. It’s as relevant now as it was then.’ That was interesting. I was designing for people, for myself, and for the people I love and admire, and my friends and family, people with the same mindset, really.”

The designer said she’s being as “transparent as humanly possible” and wants to ensure that her range is produced sustainably. “We’ve got a mantra, which is to make it ethically and as environmentally as possible, while preserving traditional skills,” said Hamnett.

“We’ve actually set up our own Brexit-proof production company in Italy; an Italian company to make our clothes. We have our factories signing a code of conduct on top of the manufacturing [one] under European law. We’ve got the additional code of conduct we sign, which makes sure that the workers are treated fairly, that health and safety is in place, that there’s no intimidation and that they’re paid living wages as opposed to minimum wages, etc.”

She said the accessories are non-toxic, while polyester is recycled or recyclable. “We’ve got beautiful organic cotton from Italy and Switzerland. It’s really exciting. It’s the first time being able to do it the way I want to do it,” she said.

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