Fashion revolutionaries: Katharine Hamnett

Have you heard of British fashion designer Katharine Hamnett? Watch her talking about sustainable fashion in this video.

Do the preparation task first. Then watch the video and do the exercises. You can also read the transcript.



My name's Katharine Hamnett. I'm a fashion designer and I've been campaigning on sustainability for the last 30 years.

In the 1980s we were on a complete roll. We did some research and I thought, 'Ah, it's gonna be fine.' Cut to the kill. Every single raw material was having a horrendous impact on the environment. People I've bought hundreds of thousands of metres of cotton from were saying, 'Why should we make it organic cotton since you're the only one asking for it?'

'Choose life' – that was our first T-shirt. 'Save the future', 'Save the bees'.

Clothing purchasing is driven by desire. You know, they've got to be desirable. They can't just be sustainable. This coat is recycled polyester. Padded silk, because I was trying to find an alternative to fur, and it actually works.

I think it's important, you know, as well as campaigning, to actually prove that it can be done.

© Fashion Revolution

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Submitted by ruthabraham on Mon, 03/04/2023 - 06:31


In my opinion, desire and sustainability may be prime to some people, but desire, comfort and affordability can outweigh sustainability to many. Sustainability becomes difficult for many to afford. With continuous efforts from activists that promote sustainability, there is a better chance in future for people to be more influenced by the advantages of wearing sustainable clothes and thereby popularity and demand for such clothing can increase. With more time and funds invested towards research and development in this area of fashion, sustainable clothing could also become cheaper eventually so that it can be used by general public. On the other hand, modern technology and change in lifestyle leads to change in trend and fashion, rising to desire clothes accordingly. For instance, internet users are influenced by social media celebrities and desire to style on the latest trends. I personally like to dress up to my comfort than think about sustainability before investing in clothes. Overall, people like to dress as per their desire and think less about sustainability. More advertisement, knowledge and cheaper access to sustainable clothes can help tomorrow's environment.

Submitted by jyoti Chaudhary on Sun, 08/05/2022 - 13:37


yes it is an important thing everyone not affords cheap clothes so people purchase according to their budgets there is better for everyone

Submitted by DIỄM PHÚC on Sun, 01/11/2020 - 12:23

I think the first thing to change human perception, the importance of people in preserving the environment and to help understand more deeply about fashion that affects the environment, thereby, people will know to save raw materials and choose the right material. Make the foundation for environmental protection a trend for the fashion industry.

Submitted by senes19 on Mon, 03/08/2020 - 15:52

I belive of course it has to be sustainable and desirable. We should pay attention about the materials they used for clothing. Because we have such as a duty to entrust a clean world to the future genarations. In addition almost all of religion order the protection of environment. Also I have to say, if any materials effects to nature badly, it may cause harmful impact on our body of course. There is a correlation. Furthermore it will cause many sort of illness. Finally, the most important issue while you are choosing a clothe, is to decide whether you will save your environment and your body and your kinds. Best regards.
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Submitted by OlaIELTS on Thu, 09/04/2020 - 19:31

By this its mean that clothes buying are driven by desire and such has little or no effect on the buyer's choice. The most important thing for me when am buying clothes is that it must meet my desire.

Submitted by Birgit17 on Sat, 01/02/2020 - 14:40

I agree with her theory. Unfortunately, these kind of clothes are still too expensive. Not everyone can afford to buy them
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Submitted by The Queen of Egypt on Sat, 25/01/2020 - 14:57

The important thing when I buy clothes is raw material, I think she is right, we must interest on sustainability as well as appearance.