Katharine Hamnett Pulls Out of Tesco

Last year, amidst much fanfare, Katharine Hamnett, the original eco-warrior fashionista, announced that she was teaming up with Tesco, the biggest and much reviled supermarket, to produce a fair trade and organic line called Choose Love. All of the supermarkets have been rushing to improve their green credentials and this partnership seemed like a win-win: a real coup for Tesco, given Hamnett's impeccable reputation, and good for her since she had been starting her business up again, after a hiatus.

However, naivete and the realities of business seem to have destroyed her dream of bringing organic, fair trade clothes to the mass market. Hamnett said: ‘I was initially really excited about the tie-up because I thought we could increase demand for ethical products. But I’ve come to the conclusion that [Tesco] simply wants to appear ethical, rather than make a full commitment to the range. Choose Love is only available in 40 stores and the merchandising is practically non-existent.’ She added that she was "incredibly disappointed" and claimed that Tesco had broken promises to roll out her Choose Love range and promote it in store. Maybe she shouldn't have been so surprised; a recent report by War on Want about the appalling working conditions of garment workers in developing countries pointed out that "the £4.6 million in salary and bonuses for Tesco’s chief executive Sir Terry Leahy could pay the annual wages of more than 25,000 Bangladeshi garment employees who supply its stores, based on average wages of about £15 a month." :: Daily Telegraph

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