Katharine Hamnett & Walter Van Beirendonck

Fashion & Politics

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Katharine Hamnett first launched as a brand in the 80s when her slogan t-shirts that comment on political issues and the government were seen (most famously) on George Michael with the now infamous statement: “Choose Life”. From there her philosophy as a brand only continued to become stronger as she went on to tackle so many issues that society was facing and was making her message be heard loud and clear to all which I find so incredible. One of the things Hamnett is most renowned for is what she wore to meet with then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, which can be seen in the image above, “58% Don’t Want Pershing” which commented on Thatcher’s decision to allow U.S. Pershing missiles to be stationed in Britain despite the majority of the British public being opposed. Legend also has it the designer faced a bankrupting audit as punishment for the embarrassment. Katharine Hamnett proves to be an incredibly interesting an intriguing in terms of not only the designer herself but the brand’s concept also and I would love to explore further as the brief progresses. Walter Van Beirendonck is known for his ‘statement’ collections and messages and his A/W 2015 collection was no exception. Debuting just two weeks after the tragic Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris, this act of terrorism forced him to respond with the opening statement: “Stop Terrorising Our World” which is a message he chose to reprise from a previous collection, A/W 2006, even though he never initially intended to make a political statement with this collection at all but when this shooting happened he felt that he just had to react. I think that this sends a really strong and powerful message to the audience and I think that it’s so important to make these statements as it really strikes a chord with the viewer and makes them think about our world and our society.



Natasha Perkin

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