When I think of Katharine Hamnett having a design career before the launch of the ‘Katharine Hamnett’ brand itself it seems odd to me that she did any other type of designing since the idea of a slogan t-shirt has become synonymous with the brand. But her heavily unformed designs at a previous fashion house does, in a way, pave the way for the work she is now known for as her t-shirts are too uniform in terms of the weight of the statements and the high level of impact they create. It’s not just her ethical business philosophy and the fact that she has won the first ever British Fashion Award in 1996 and appointed Commander of the Order of the British Fashion Empire (BE) in the 2011 New Year Honours that I have chosen her brand to use for my anti fashion ad campaign but the voice that her clothing has and how she uses fashion in a different way to everyone else – she raises important issues of society and expresses her opinion in the simplest yet boldest way. My idea for the anti fashion campaign using the Katharine Hamnett brand is to put my own statements out there on issues that are current in today’s society using spray paint instead of having them printed, keeping the ‘Katharine Hamnett’ type. The reason for spraying the message onto the clothing (which will all be recycled) is so that anyone who doesn’t have the money to buy the ‘Katharine Hamnett’ pieces (where a percentage of the proceeds will go to the perspectives organisations) can download the stencils for spraying them on themselves onto their own clothes, getting themselves a Katharine Hamnett inspired garment at no cost. Hopefully this will then inspire people to make t-shirts with messages of their own.
Looking at these photographs from Hamnett’’s runway shows from both 1985 and S/S 2004 show how Hamnett takes her simplistic yet incredibly impactful statements and can adapt them to a trend relevant to the times and deliver them with a bang, which only makes her that much more remarkable as a designer. Another aspect I admire about her is that she fully embodies her brand as she too speaks out in interviews and doesn’t just let her t-shirts do the talking as shown in this interview with The Guardian in 2008 expressing her views on racism in the industry:
“The catwalks are full of white dogs, cosmetic companies don’t like black models – the racist bitches. I have no idea why when it’s obvious that black girls are just so genuinely much more beautiful than Caucasians, who have clearly got the short straw. Black girls have much better body shapes and it’s such a shame. I just think there should be a bit more of a balance.”
Hamnett’s ad campaigns prove to be very natural and wearing the t-shirts in a fun and freeing way, worn by people from a diverse age range in order to appeal to the market of everyone! I plan to emulate this approach to my campaign but I think only using one model, making the t-shirts and the statements they hold take centre stage, really driving the message home. I think that with the types of issues I want to comment on in my anti fashion campaign I think it would serve me best to use a young adult as my model as it is at the upmost importance to appeal to my generation as well as the next so I think it’s imperative to have a youthful face behind it.