“I know, not more bloody t-shrts,” she says, rolling her eyes and remembering her famous slogan t-shirts from the Eighties. “But they were never expected to sell, it was an exercise in manipulating the media, in getting a message across. If I’ve done anything in my life I’m really proud of it’s those t-shirts. I like the seminality of them. They’re f***-off great.” Katharine Hamnett.
“If the designers don’t insist on [organic and ethical manufacturing] then who else is going to? We’re only going to work that way now and if people don’t want to work with us they can f*** off. I went to one of the big fabric fairs and this guy said, ‘Why should we do it if you’re the only person asking for it?’ I realised then that this industry doesn’t give a f*** about 20000 deaths a year and that there are whole tracts of land in South America, wastelands, where arsenic has been used to defoliate them for cotton growing.”
“She just takes her politics seriously, which is not something you could accuse many fashion designers of these days. When it comes to her work, she is almost totally without ego, nearly unheard of in this day and age where the fashion press believe a garment only has value if you can find a picture of a celebrity wearing it.”
Interview by Michael Harvey for The Times Magazine, 8 September 2001