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Jacket - Clean Up or Die

Clean Up or Die

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1989 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Katharine Hamnett, born 1948 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Leather with metal studwork and zips

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the designer

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    On short term loan out for exhibition

Studwork embellishes the entire surface of this black leather jacket from Katherine Hamnett’s Winter 1990 ‘Clean Up or Die’ collection. Hexagonal facetted studs and round studs are riveted through the leather to create blocks of pattern broken by short, heavy zips.

Since the 1950s, the black leather motorbike jacket has been adopted by teenagers as a symbol of rebellion and defiance. A black leather jacket is associated with the teenage menace coupled with the glamour embodied by Marlon Brando in the film The Wild One (1954). Hard metal studs could offer additional surface armour on the already highly protective and sturdy garment, but Katherine Hamnett’s stud designs are a less aggressive, high fashion reworking of tough street wear. The jacket back is emblazoned with the environmental plea ‘Clean Up or Die’.

Physical description

Black leather man's jacket with metal studwork embellishing the entire surface. Hexagonal faceted studs and round studs are riveted through the leather to create blocks of pattern broken by short heavy zips.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1989 (made)


Katharine Hamnett, born 1948 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Leather with metal studwork and zips


Height: 1900 mm, Width: 670 mm, Depth: 420 mm

Object history note

Registered File number 1990/873. Part of an outfit T.208 to E-1990.

Descriptive line

Black leather man's jacket 'Clean Up or Die' with metal studwork embellishments, designed by Katharine Hamnett, England, Autumn/Winter 1989.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

C. Wilcox & V. Mendes. Modern Fashion in Detail. V&A Publications, 1991, p.128

Labels and date

Designed by Katharine Hamnett (British)
Studded leather jacket, stretch velvet catsuit and top

Given by Katharine Hamnett
T.209 to b-1990

Designed by Katharine Hamnett (British)
Studded leather jacket and trousers with cotton T-shirt

Given by Katharine Hamnett
T.208 to c-1990

Katharine Hamnett believes that she stands alone "against the rise in fascist dressing". Her work has been described as an exercise in radical chic. Irreverent political views and an instinct for bucking the establishment have made her famous and turned a tiny pre-washed cottons business, started with a £500 loan in 1979, into a hugely successful global operation.
While solidly positioned in the avant garde, Hamnett's work is steeped in nostalgia. School uniforms, sixties starlets and rockers have always been her inspiration, while her slogan T-shirts bring us back to the days of Woodstock and Vietnam war sit-ins.

Her latest winter collection, with the slogan "Clean Up or Die" studded on the backs of leather bikers jackets, is characteristically quotable, pithy and sexy. The jackets are richly embellished, the entire surface covered with trinkets and charms, endowing and protecting the wearer, like amulets for battle. The man's outfit features classic Hamnett slogan T-shirt and skull and cross-bone belt buckle. The lady's lush velour catsuit is soft and slinky, clinging to every curve and looks appropriate for an acrobat or trapeze artiste. She is wearing a matching "James Bond" top, a characteristic reference by Hamnett to popular modern culture. [1990]

Production Note

'Clean Up or Die' collection, Autumn/Winter 1990


Leather; Metal


Men's clothes; Fashion; Leather


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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