Iconic fashion designer Katharine Hamnett CBE took to the stage at Pure London recently to talk about creating a more sustainable fashion industry. The activist called out Government, policy makers, and big businesses for being complicit in the poverty of millions of farmers and workers worldwide. Her solution is to insist on the same standard for all products created outside the EU as inside and to reinvent British manufacturing.
“In the 1980s no-one knew there was anything wrong with the fashion industry but that has changed now,” she told the crowd. “A lot of brands are changing, but a lot aren’t. Brands are unwilling (to change) because it puts up their costs. But consumer power is forcing the issue now. My overall solution is to insist on the same standards from goods outside the EU as the standards set inside the EU or they aren’t allowed in. It would create a level playing field, help clean up the environment, would mean the same health and safety and labour standards, and also make the EU more competitive.”
She added that more needs to be done to re-industrialise the UK citing that our natural resources, renewable energy and embracing new technology could make Britain great again.
“We can start again as a manufacturing country,” she said. “We need to start from scratch but do it completely sustainably, change the old business model and unnecessary profit making. But this must come from the top, it is the responsibility of the CEO’s and boards of directors to make the changes. Businesses need to be arm-wrestled by legislation, we’ve had 30 years of choice and now we need laws.”
Hamnett also created a stampede for her infamous Second Referendum Now slogan t-shirts as she gave them away for free to the audience.