Contributing Monkie Sarah Backhouse
Published on September 28, 2009
It’s always easy to identify fashion crimes. At least, in retrospect. Take for example the 1980s. Offenses were flowing thick and fast in the era of scrunchies, bubble skirts and ubiquitous shoulder pads. But one ‘80s item you definitely don’t need to be ashamed of is the Choose Life T-shirt. Made famous by the boys from Wham!, these tees are still so highly sought after that designer Katherine Hamnett decided to relaunch them, along with a host of other socially conscious slogans.
Only this time, they’re organic.
Choose Life was launched back in 1983, in the midst of a Thatcher-ite government and a Europe-wide proliferation of cruise and Pershing missiles. Choose Life encouraged us to choose life over war, extinction, and so on. Inspired by Buddhism, the slogan was not related to the anti-abortion lobby, who later appropriated the phrase.
Now once again the world is besieged by a host of global issues from the war in Iraq to global warming. So, if you want your voice heard – why not wear it? — with the bold minimalism of the original and the best protest T-shirt by Katharine Hamnett.
Katharine’s other designs are self explanatory: Clean Up or Die; Education not Missiles; Save the Rainforests; No War; Leaders Suck; Worldwide Nuclear Ban Now.
One slogan that took me by surprise, however, is Bring Back God. Katharine explains: “Nobody knows how life started. Darwinism is just part of the answer and all other possibilities have to be considered including a supernatural one. The right to believe in God is one of our civil liberties.” Sure, we have a right to believe whatever we want, but given that religion has been the cause of countless wars, the Crusades, bigotry against homosexuals, the persecution of Salman Rushdie and so on, it seems counter-productive, given her stance on other social issues.
Perhaps the doyenne of British fashion should get together with another British living legend, biologist Richard Dawkins. Then she can appropriate his phrase, The God Delusion.
Check out Katharine Hamnett’s goods here.