By  on December 18, 2018

LONDON — Decades before social media was even a twinkle in the eyes of digital entrepreneurs there was Katharine Hamnett, the designer, political and environmental activist who was messaging her heart out on oversize cotton T-shirts. Slogans ranged from “Choose Life” and “Frankie Says Relax” to “58% Don’t Want Pershing,” a T-shirt Hamnett famously wore to Downing Street to protest the government’s plan to host U.S. Pershing missiles on U.K. territory. Hamnett is still making the shirts — how could she resist in times like these? — with slogans such as “Fashion Hates Brexit,” “Second Referendum Now” and “Vote Trump Out.”

In the late Eighties, she was among the first industry campaigners to highlight the use of pesticides and the plight of cotton farmers — and her commitment to politics has not dimmed. She continues to campaign for sustainable sourcing and manufacturing, and is raising money for various charities including Help Refugees. Here, Hamnett talks about the myriad challenges of running a sustainable fashion business, how the problems just seem to multiply and why younger generations need to move faster.

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