The queen of the miniskirt, Mary Quant was the maven of mod fashion in the 60’s. Quant rejected the constrictive style of the 50’s and refused the fashion dictatorship of the couture designers. Her boutique, Bazaar, was one of the first street-designer styled shops, and created the turn away from the couturiers.
The youth culture was taking over, gaining a stronger voice every year. This ‘youth quake,’ as Quant dubbed it, changed the course of fashion. No longer was fashion a purely ‘trickle down’ phenomenon, with a handful of pretentious designers dictating what everyone would be wearing for the next season. Quant offered people freedom, a fresh look on fashion that was affordable to all.
Along with her husband, Quant opened up a small shop, Bazaar, on Carnaby Street of London. Quant had no design experience when Bazaar opened in 1955, but she did know that there were other young women, like herself, who were tired of the old-fashioned ways of designing and wearing clothes. Bazaar offered relaxed and fashion-forward clothes, and when there weren’t enough options being made, Quant learned to make them herself. Producing her own designs, Quant created a following of bright young things who had money to spend, but a very strong sense of their own individual fashion. Before long, Mary Quant was as recognizable—and even more popular (with youths at least)—than the couturiers, and her guaranteed you wouldn’t look like everyone else walking the streets.
Quant’s greatest opus was her mass-marketed miniskirt. Both high-fashion designer Andre Courreges and Quant are credited with creating the scandalously short miniskirt, but regardless of the innovator, Quant certainly popularized the mini. But Quant gives credit to the ‘girls in the street,’ who were already cutting and rehemming their skirts above the knee.
Quant was such a hit that she was asked to design a line of youthwear for the U.S. store JC Penny. Her minis, tights (which she had made specifically for use with the mini), poorboy sweaters and crocheted tops became the wardrobe of the decade. In 1966, Quant expanded into cosmetics, recognized by the bright daisy logo.
Quant continues to design clothes and produce her cosmetics line. She will always be remembered as the innovator of street fashion, and her name is synonymous with the fashion icon of the 60’s: the miniskirt.