Much like her punk counterpart Vivienne Westwood who sold her clothes in her husbands shop, Mary Quant opened a clothing shop named ‘Bazaar’ with her husband and an accountant in one of London’s busiest and most fashionable shopping areas, King’s Road.
Bazaar was opened in 1955 when Mary was just 21 years old, but soon she became fed up of the range of clothes available to order in and decided that designing her own clothes to sell in the shop was the only way to move forward. Within 10 years Bazaar was filled with her own personal designs and Quant was forced to hire more machinists to keep up with the demands.
Somewhat unknowingly, Mary, her husband and the accountant friend whom had joined them in opening Bazaar had created a fresh and revolutionary new fashion style which would be later known as the ‘Chelsea Look’.
Just as Mary Quant had wished, soon the young people of the UK were wearing interchangeable and somewhat unisex garments that were spruced up with white plastic collared dresses, mini skirts and hot pants in the summer, whilst keeping skinny rib polo neck sweaters, knee high PVC boots and woollen pinafore dresses for the winter time.
Although there is no way of proving the patent, Mary Quant’s name is one which is most synonymous with the invention of the mini skirt (although there are many of other designers who claim the same thing).Such short skirts worn in public were quite revolutionary and certainly quite risque at the time but they soon become incredibly popular, especially when worn with patterned tights and knee high boots.
Now Mary Quant is in her mid-seventies, her clothing has gone international and she has boutiques in Paris, Tokyo and New York as well as London. Since the days when Mary was responsible for bringing Britain out of that boring, conventional clothing style she has been awarded an OBE and is registered as a Fellow of the Chartered Society of Designers (FCSD).
The contemporary fashion world looks back on Mary Quant’s work and strongly appreciates her work which created that iconic look of the 60’s.