Today, whilst Margaret Thatcher’s funeral takes place in St Paul’s Cathedral hundreds (if not thousands) of people will wear red to signify their peaceful protest against Margaret Thatcher’s actions during her three terms as Prime Minister. The hashtag #wearredonwednesday has seen people tweeting photographs of their red lipstick, shirts, t-shirts, shoes whilst still trying to appear suitably dressed for work.
Slogans, colours, viral campaigns and creativity have all benefited protesters and moved certain symbols into the sphere of daily language.
When British designer Katharine Hamnett was invited to 10 Downing Street by Margaret Thatcher she used her time with the Iron Lady to display one of her designs. Her t-shirt just so happened to be a protest t-shirt saying ‘58% Don’t Want Pershing’ in protest of Prime Minister’s decision to allow US Pershing missiles to be stationed in Britain.
Hamnett’s oversized t-shirts with block lettering became popular and bands adapted them for their performances, such as Wham and Frankie Goes to Hollywood.
Katharine Hamnett is still producing her designs which in recent times she has used to protest cuts to NHS, support the Fair Trade movement and call for the end of nuclear weapons.
Hamnett’s influence has been seen widely in both fashion and protests.
Bold block writing of words or short phrases have been adapted to a range of tops and provided new ways to express yourself politically or emotionally. Holding a sign or going on a march is not for everyone, t-shirts allow peaceful yet seen opinions and protests, and can be more subtle and more fun.