John Smedley’s ethos has always had sustainable design and practices at its forefront and who better to celebrate this with than the original fashion pioneer Katharine Hamnett? 

Together, they have crafted an exclusive capsule collection featuring the slogan ‘Choose Slow’, that is designed to ask consumers to assess where and from whom they buy their clothing from, shifting focus from fast to slow fashion. 

Slow Fashion. British Style.  


The Katharine Hamnett London x John Smedley collaboration is a celebration of sustainable style. As two classic British brands, we have endured and thrived by refusing to compromise over what we believe: sustainability, craftsmanship, quality and people. This collaboration is about championing these values and showing what they can do.  


As brands we make tough decisions to put people and planet first – the UK Government needs to do the same. Inaction is easy, radical change is not, but it’s quite simple: to reach Net Zero, Fast Fashion has to go. It’s amazing that millions of people are already making this choice, but the Government must do the rest to hit its targets. Britain has a wonderful opportunity to embrace sustainable fashion, and to drive change globally through its supply chains.  

Speaking about the collaboration Katharine stated  

“I have worked with John Smedley off and on since the 1980s, I have always loved the quality of what they do. They are one of the few remaining mills that still produce a great, quintessentially British & traditional product at its best.” 

John Smedley’s Brand Director Jess Mcguire-Dudley spoke about the new collection to say ‘Katharine has been a pioneer of ethical practices, challenging the status quo of the fashion industry and beyond for decades. She is a personal hero of mine and it’s a great privilege to have worked with her to design this collaborative collection.  Our aims are to engage customers once again with slow fashion, urging them to understand and value British manufacturing, high quality, trace-able fibres and the real people behind our products’ 

The collection is priced from £55 – £220 and 20% of all profits from the collection sold at John Smedley stores will be donated to the UKFT to further apprenticeships across the British manufacturing and fashion industries. 


Plastics are useful. They’re used to help make lifesaving medical supplies, lightweight, fuel-efficient car parts, and insulation for our homes.

But nearly half of all plastic produced goes towards single-use items such as bags, straws, utensils and takeout containers. Since the 1950s, humans have produced about 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic. Every year, 8 million metric tons end up in the ocean.

Globally, only 9% of plastics are recycled.

As the waste piles up, there’s a growing demand for alternatives. There’s a number of companies trying to develop cost-efficient and eco-friendly substitutes, from mushroom packaging to advanced fibers and plastic-free online shopping. But it may take serious legislative efforts to incentive adoption and slow the rise of the industry overall.

The UK needs a Green New Deal.

Write to your MP in a hand-addressed envelope sent by post (emails are easy to block).

To find them go to

Dear [your MP]

The UK needs a Green New Deal. It has to be a cross-party government priority and long term commitment to a lower CO2 economy with a view to devolving completely out of fossil fuels, and committing to huge investment across the board into the Clean Renewable Energy sector in all its manifestations, regardless of what party is in power. This not only cuts emissions but creates a huge amount of jobs.

Ban fracking immediately because fracked oil and gas are fossil fuel.

We need to introduce legislation and grants for all transport to be converted to hydrogen – the climate game changer. It can even be used for shipping and aviation.

It’s easy to convert existing combustion engines to it immediately, e.g. cars. It’s cheap to make locally, using renewably sourced electricity, and when you burn it, all it gives off is water vapour.

Replace Britain’s ageing infrastructure with a new high speed super grid. We could be selling clean energy to other countries.

We need a modern approach to dealing with our waste recycling. We are in the dark ages. 

If you don’t represent this view in Parliament I will not be voting for you next time.

I would like a reply to know whether you will take this action or not, which I am entitled to by law.

Many thanks, looking forward to hearing from you.


your name and postcode]”




We are committed to only using raw materials from sustainable sources; organic, bio-based,

regenerated or recycled.

We are 100% transparent about all raw materials (fabrics, trims and components) that we use to make

our products, explaining how we verify their sustainability credentials and the reasons we choose the

materials we do.

We will only use conventional raw materials in exceptional circumstances where there is no highquality,

commercially viable, sustainable alternative with equivalent performance properties available.

When this occurs, we work with our suppliers to support them in developing more sustainable

alternatives. We will always look for ways to lessen our impact and implement solutions.


This policy applies to the sourcing of raw materials used in products that we design and manufacture.

Sustainability issues linked to processes used in the production of our products (e.g. Chemicals, Waste,

Water Use, Wastewater Treatment, Energy, Air Emissions etc.) are covered in the Katharine Hamnett

London Environmental Policy.


We are working to trace the origin of our raw materials, one-by-one. We understand how difficult this

process is, due to the complexity of raw material supply chains so we work closely with our

manufacturers, fabric suppliers and mills to trace the full route of our materials step-by-step, from

origin to finished product.


We have processes in place with our design, sourcing and production teams to ensure that we uphold

the standards set out in this policy. We work closely with our suppliers to make sure they understand

our values and that we understand theirs.

Suppliers are required to provide evidence, demonstrating compliance with this policy before we place

an order with them. We will always support our suppliers on sustainability progress where needed, as

developing long-term relationships with suppliers is important to our brand.

We update this Responsible Sourcing Policy with every collection or in line with significant sustainability





We use the following plant derived raw materials under the conditions outlined below:

• GOTS Organic Cotton

• Conventional Cotton


• Organic Linen

• Corozo

• Card and Paper


• We are committed to growing the demand for certified organic cotton globally and 99% of cotton

we source is certified organic (+/- 1% depending on units produced in each collection).

• We only use Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified organic cotton.


• We do not permit the use of conventional cotton in our fabrics. Cotton fabrics must be 100%

GOTS certified organic cotton.

• Conventional cotton is used for our stitching thread and minor trims only, when there is no

commercially viable option available. We are working to switch to certified organic cotton for all

thread and trims, bringing our use of organic cotton up to 100%.


• We only source cellulose based fabrics that are produced using the LENZINGä process, a closed

loop production process that does not discharge toxic chemicals into the environment.

• We are committed to ensuring that wood pulp used to produce any cellulose based fabrics that we

source, does not come from ancient or endangered forests. LENZINGä procure wood and pulp

from Forest Stewardship Council (FSCÒ) and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest

Certification (PEFCä) certified sustainable sources*.


• We use linen for its inherent sustainability properties; derived from flax, which requires no

fertilisers/herbicides/pesticides or irrigation in its cultivation.

• We only use 100% GOTS certified organic linen.


• Derived from the Tagua nut tree, Corozo seeds used to make Corozo buttons are harvested

naturally when they are ripe and at their most durable for producing buttons.

• We use Corozo as it is a fully biodegradable, renewable resource.


• We are committed to ensuring that any wood pulp used to produce our packaging does not come

from ancient or endangered forests.

• We only use wood pulp based fibres sourced from forests certified to the FSCÒ for our packaging.



We use the following animal derived raw materials under the conditions outlined below:

• Animal Hair; Wool, Cashmere, Mohair, Regenerated Baby Camel Hair, Alpaca

• Silk

• Recycled Down

• Regenerated Animal Derived Leather

• Farmed Mother of Pearl


• We give preference to animal hair from regenerated or recycled sources.

• All virgin animal hair used in our products must come from farms with high animal welfare

standards, preferably accredited/certified by a recognised body – we are committed to upholding

the highest animal welfare standards, based on the internationally recognised ‘Five Freedoms’ for

animal welfare.

• Virgin animal hair used in our products must be gathered, clipped, shorn or combed/groomed only.


• We give preference to wool from regenerated or recycled sources, supporting the traditional

process of mechanically reworking fabric offcuts into new yarn, that has been widely in use in the

Prato area since the 1800’s. This process can however affect the durability of certain fibres and in

these cases, we use virgin wool.

• All virgin wool fibres must come from farms with high animal welfare standards, preferably GOTS

certified or ZQÔ certified in certain cases.

• All virgin wool fibres must come from farms that do not practice mulesing. Wool originating from

Australia must be declared as ‘non-mulesed’ (NM) or ‘ceased-mulesed’ (CM) in National Wool

Declaration (NWD) documentation.


• We actively source sustainable alternatives to virgin cashmere fibres, due to the negative social and

environmental impacts caused by current cashmere production practices in Mongolia and other

cashmere producing regions.

• We give preference to cashmere from regenerated or recycled sources, supporting the traditional

process of mechanically reworking fabric offcuts into new yarn, that has been widely in use in the

Prato area since the 1800’s. This process can however affect the durability of certain fibres and in

these cases, we use virgin cashmere.

• We experiment with different types of wool compositions to find the highest performing sustainable

blend and will only ever use a small % of fully traceable virgin cashmere fibres in these instances.

Regenerated Baby Camel Hair

• We source Regenerated Baby Camel Hair as a more sustainable alternative to virgin cashmere

fibres, as camel hair has similar performance properties to cashmere and regenerating it extends

the life of this lightweight and luxurious fibre.


• We experiment with different types of wool compositions to find the highest performing sustainable

blend. We use a small % of alpaca for added smoothness, softness and durability.

• Alpaca is one of our preferred fibres when it comes to wool blends, as alpacas are raised without

the need for toxic chemicals, minimising the impact of their farming on the environment and they

create less damage to soil, than cashmere goats for example.



• We are aware of animal welfare abuses in mohair supply chains and are working to ensure that we

uphold the highest animal welfare standards while continuing to support credible local herders in

mohair producing regions.

• Mohair sourced from South Africa should come from farms audited to the Mohair South Africa

Sustainable Mohair Production Guidelines.

• We are following the development of the Textile Exchange Responsible Mohair Standard for best

practice standards in mohair producing regions.


• Our silk comes from conventional sources. We have trialled alternatives, Peace Silk for example,

but found that supporting our existing Italian supplier to create a fully certified supply chain of

GOTS organic silk is the best option for our brand. We want to encourage other suppliers to

convert to sustainable silk and drive the supply of a more commercially viable option.

• Our silk is dyed using low impact GOTS certified dyes.


• We do not use virgin down or feathers due to animal welfare issues, live plucking and force feeding

for example.

• We only use recycled down certified to the Global Recycled Standard (GRS).


• We do not use virgin leather but we do use a small amount of regenerated animal derived leather to

reinforce buckles in one of our products.

• All regenerated animal derived leather should be certified to a credible standard and the source of

the leather used for regeneration should be verifiable.


• We have used horn buttons in the most recent collections prior to this policy update.

• Due to difficulties in assuring animal derived materials as by-products of the meat industry, we are

working to phase out horn buttons, trialling more sustainable alternatives, recycled nylon for



• We only accept farmed mother of pearl for our buttons, that come from reputable suppliers who

can verify the origin and provide animal welfare and biodiversity protection assurances.


We use the following mineral derived raw materials under the conditions outlined below:


• We only accept crystal embellishment from Swarovski, as Swarovski crystal is sustainably produced

to their Advanced Crystal standard. This ensures that the crystal glass and all other materials in its

composition, contain 0.009% lead or less.


We use the following synthetic materials under conditions outlined below:

• Virgin Petroleum Derived Fibres

• Elastane

• Recycled Polyester & Recycled Nylon



• We are working to eliminate all virgin petroleum derived materials and that includes switching to

recycled alternatives where more high-quality, commercially viable options become available.

• We give preference to petroleum derived fabrics that are 100% recycled from industrial waste

and/or post-consumer waste and certified to a credible standard e.g. Global Recycled Standard


• We do use virgin petroleum derived fibres in a portion of our trims (zips, shoulder pads and a small

percentage of stitching thread) and three of our fabric blends contain a small percentage of



• We allow a small amount of elastane across three of our products; 2% of elastane in some of our

denim to offer a commercially viable fit, 5% in knitted mesh for durability and 22% in our swimwear

fabric, as we have yet to find a swim fabric innovation that does not require the use of elastane for

performance purposes.

• We are working to phase out the use of elastane completely, particularly in denim by highlighting

the benefits of raw denim fit to consumers and hopefully stimulating a market shift away from

elastane blend fabrics.


• We only use recycled polyester that is 100% recycled from industrial waste and/or post-consumer

waste (e.g. plastic bottles) and certified to the Global Recycled Standard (GRS).

• We only use recycled nylon that is 100% recycled from industrial waste (e.g. discarded fishing nets)

and post-consumer waste that is certified to the Oeko-TexÒ certified and/or Global Recycled

Standard (GRS). We are also exploring bio-based nylon options for our upcoming collection.


We do not permit the use of the following:

• Conventional Acetate

• Conventional Cotton Fabrics

• Conventional Nylon Fabrics

• Conventional Polyester Fabrics

• Conventional Viscose


• Exotic Skins

• Fur (including Angora)


• Virgin Animal Derived Leather

• Virgin Down and Feathers

• Virgin Wool Fibres from farms that practice mulesing

• Virgin Petroleum Derived Fabrics

The materials listed here as ones that we do not use, are materials that we deem the most important to

highlight due to their environmental, social and economic impacts. It is however, not an exhaustive list.

We are always monitoring the latest sustainability developments and innovations and will update this list


* To support businesses who cannot afford sophisticated and expensive certification procedures, minor volumes of wood are purchased from small-scale

producers which Lenzing wood buyers are very familiar with. These partners prove their sustainability commitment continuously to Lenzing’s wood

procurement and forestry experts.

i-D Magazine: How to Save the World with Katharine Hamnett

10 September 2018

Iconic fashion designer Katharine Hamnett has spent her career fighting to make the world a better place. From making fashion sustainable to cancelling Brexit, here’s her manifesto for change in 2018…

Fashion gave me a voice in the 80s, or rather I grabbed it, and I’ve used and abused it ever since. I started my career making slogan tees in an attempt to highlight key issues affecting the world. I wanted to make people stop and think and hopefully do the right thing. For this issue of i-D, I’ve highlighted four make or break areas we need to address now and asked key people operating within those areas for their advice on how we achieve a sustainable future…

Read the full feature here