Home » Fashion designer Katharine Hamnett bins her CBE in protest for Gaza ceasefire

Fashion designer Katharine Hamnett bins her CBE in protest for Gaza ceasefire

Fashion designer Katharine Hamnett has thrown away her CBE due to what she considers Britain’s part in Israel’s ongoing assault on Gaza.

The designer, known for her political slogan T-shirts, expressed her “disgust” with the British government’s response to the killings and destruction in the Palestinian state since 7 October, when Hamas attacked Israel.

Hamnett, 76, was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to the fashion industry in the 2011 New Year Honours.

However, she did away with her medal in a video posted on Tuesday (20 February), while wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the phrase: “DISGUSTED TO BE BRITISH.”

“I’m disgusted to be British for our role in genocide in Gaza,” the 76-year-old designer says to the camera with her medal in hand, outside of a residential property.

“This is my CBE. It belongs in the dustbin, with [Rishi] Sunak and [Keir] Starmer.”

The clip then shows Hamnett opening the lid of the waste bin before casually dropping the medal inside.

Directing her followers to visit the parliamentary monitoring site theyworkforyou.com, Hamnett adds: “Find your MP and tell them you’ll never vote for them again unless they support a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.”

British designer Katharine Hamnett throws CBE in the bin (Instagram / Katharine Hamnett)

Hamnett then informs viewers as to where her T-shirt can be purchased.

The designer has long used fashion to engage with political and social issues. She launched her T-shirts, often decorated with large punchy slogans, in 1983. Her iconic “CHOOSE LIFE” slogan has been worn by acts such as Wham! and Queen’s Roger Taylor.

Hamnett’s post was made shortly before a chaotic House of Commons session on Wednesday (21 February), in which the SNP pressed for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, the release of all hostages held by Hamas and “an end to the collective punishment of the Palestinian people”.

Labour responded by tabling an amendment to the motion on top of the government’s, with Speaker Sir Linday Hoyle deciding to select the party’s amendment for a vote and debate. His decision angered the SNP, who felt their opposition day had been hijacked by the speaker.

Although Hamnett points to the horrors in Gaza as the key motivation for her disgust in the clip, a subsequent social media post from the designer shed further light on additional reasons behind the frank messaging of her new T-shrits.

“Complicity in genocide, ending aid to Gaza, appalling treatment of refugees, mixing up anti-Zionism with antisemitism, making boycott illegal, poor political leadership, the treatment of Julian Assange,” she wrote in a post shared to Instagram on Wednesday (21 February).

To officially relinquish her status as a commander of the British Empire, Hamnett must write to the forfeiture committee, which will amend the register. The King must formally sign off on the amendment before it is enacted.