Fashion Activism Is Alive and Well. Ninette Murk and Katharine Hamnett’s New Project Is Here to Prove It

Ninette Murk is no stranger to anyone passionate about social change. The founder of Beauty without Irony and director of the Designers against AIDS initiative has a lot of similar inspiring projects under her belt. So has iconic fashion genius Katharine Hamnett. The close friends, fashion creators, and social change activists now unite their super forces in a truly unique fashion campaign, that’s part of Samsung’s Global Goals project and app. The Samsung Global Goals (SGG) educational and charity app is already on over 200 million devices, making it the most distributed and easily accessible charity app in the world. For their, We Are The Future campaign Ninette and Katharine focused on politics and social change: inspiring young people to vote.

A series of fashion T-shirts are already available on the WeAreTheFuture website -all designed by Katharine Hamnett and 20% of every T-shirt sold goes to United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The project has already been featured in mainstream media, with V Magazine even running a big online story at the exact project launch date.

As Katharine Hamnett says: “Our vote is our most powerful tool to get the world we want and you can use its power before you’ve even got it because even if you haven’t got it yet, you’ll be voting soon. So write to your elected representatives, tell them about the world you want, about the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals and that You Are the Future, that you’ll be watching how they vote, and that you won’t be voting for them next time if you don’t see them representing your views. These tees are designed to help spread that message.”

We were intrigued and sat down with Ninette Murk to find out more about this exciting project.

Tell us about the We Are The Future project. How was it initially conceived?

I personally consult for the Samsung Global Goals app and Katharine was the first fashion designer that I worked with, a long time ago. Then we became friends. And she said: why don’t we make some slogan T-shirts and give a big part of the sales to UNDP? The idea was to create a website and to find a company that makes organic, sustainable clothing -only print to order, to avoid the stock. And I loved it.

How did the VOTE concept come up?

Katharine suggested we focus on inspiring young people to vote. Modern politics shows this: it’s very important for young people to make a statement about what they actually want. And if they’re still too young to vote, they can tell their parents and everybody else who is 18 or older to go vote. Your vote is the most important power you have to make a change in the world. And children are the future of it. We now have our amazing slogan tees available on the website -including those for kids- and we are planning to expand with hoodies, just like the one Katharine wears in the video, very soon.

Tell us about the video

After the song was made and recorded, I thought we needed an equally great video. It’s the coolest song about the Global Goals, full of youthful energy. Katharine did a series of shoots with local kids and teenagers wearing her T-shirts. Later we got help from a friend of hers from a major film company that creates content for Nike, Vans, and Apple… then everything went from here. And they perfectly captured the essence of the project. We are both strong idealists, which is quite rare. With us, it isn’t about being commercial, about the money. It is about the kids out there, to tell them that they can make a change in the world.

Is fashion really connected with politics?

Of course, it is. Here’s what I always say: you may not want to have anything to do with politics, but politics want a lot to do with you! And fashion is not standing outside of reality. Politics are a crucial part of our reality and daily life, so ignoring it is very dangerous.

Look at climate change, for instance: we need to be involved. Don’t let money-hungry companies ruin the planet even more than they have already done! All the projects I have done in the past focus on being politically authentic, making sure that the people you ask to take part are also authentic -and not doing it for the money. It has to come from the heart, which in my case is true all of the time. I’ve been doing this for 25 years and by now, my collaborators know what I am passionate about. And my passion becomes contagious.

Shop the new merch line, click here to visit the We Are the Future online store.

Click here to discover more about the Samsung Global Goals initiative.

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