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Katharine Hamnett’s new beach collection

Posted Jun 14 2010 9:00am

Stuck for what to wear on the beach this summer? Choosing the right style of swimwear can be hard for both guys and gals, especially if you’re looking to keep the contents of your beach bag ethical. Luckily Katharine Hamnett’s new beach collection for Yoox.com offers 14 Fifties-inspired swimwear items and accessories that will have you strutting to the beach confident and carefree. George Walker takes a look at the new ‘Save the Sea’ collection by the pioneer of ethical style.

When it comes to sorting out our summer wardrobes once again, it’s often the thought of buying swimwear that looms in our minds as we make our way around the shops. Buying swimwear is difficult – finding that comfortable, body flattering style can strike fear in many people’s hearts, especially for women who have all manner of designs available (for us guys it’s easy: just a big no-no to Speedos!) Also the fact that swimwear and beach accessories quite often use unsustainable plastics, fabrics and dyes makes it hard for people who want to live ethically to get something both environmentally friendly and stylish.

But fear not dear Greenmystyle readers: help is at hand from the fashion elite. Katharine Hamnett, the internationally known designer who has been championing ethical clothing since the Eighties, has teamed up with the Italian high-fashion online retailer Yoox.com to release a stunning range of bikinis, swim shorts and dresses for your summer jaunt.

The ‘Save the Sea’ collection combines Katharine Hamnett’s trademark ethical sloganeering with clever design touches, many of which are inspired by Fifties designs. Hamnett said: “I have called this collection Save the Sea as the sea that we all love is dying due to the impact of human activities such as oil spill, sewage dumping, industrial pollution, agricultural chemical fertilizers and pesticide run-off, lack of fish stock management and over fishing.”

Sadly at the moment everyone is all too aware of the dangers of sea pollution after the BP oil spill, making this a good time to think about how we can support a healthy future for the oceans. Hamnett suggested: “It’s important as consumers and voters that we all know the facts, so that we can do what is needed to save it. Take action - you can make the difference.”

A percentage of the retail price of the collection goes to help farmers in West Africa through the ‘Fashioning a Better Future’ project set up by Katharine Hamnett and run by the Organic Exchange, a registered U.S. charity. It also uses organic cotton, recyclable polyester and other such sustainable fabrics, so you can be safe in the knowledge that these items won’t be harming the sea you take a dip in.

But is the collection up to the style stakes?

‘Save the Sea’ is printed on some of the t-shirts and tote bags in this collection, bringing a bit of Hamnett’s iconic Eighties stylings to your summer look. For those who are a bit wary of such a bold Eighties look, however, much of the collection is more subtle, with chic wrap dresses and cheeky polka dot bikinis all making an appearance.

The swimsuits and bikinis appear well structured – mainly because Hamnett has used tried-and-tested retro cuts that flatter a womanly shape. Polka dots and stripes add an edge of fun, making this range splendidly sexy and full of humour.

One standout piece from the collection is the organic silk dress (pictured left, £122 ). It’s the perfect item for a holiday as it’s casual yet luxurious look means you can wear it straight from the beach to the bar.

Unfortunately the men’s items are a bit less interesting – as often seems the way with ethical clothing lines made for both men and women *sigh*. Although there’s nothing wrong with the khaki shorts and t-shirts, it’s a shame some little touches of Fifties patterning didn’t make their way into the men’s collection.

The ‘Save the Sea’ collection for men and women is now available from Yoox.com .

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