This week’s influential woman is someone who was involved greatly in the fashion industry. Mary Quant was born February 11, 1934. She was one of the main designers of the invention of the miniskirt and hot pants. She married her husband Alexander Plunket Greene in 1957, who became her partner in working fashion. Her first shop was open on King’s Road in London, called the Bazaar. It was right above her husband’s restaurant, called Alexander’s. Quant opened up a second branch of her shop later on. Some of her successful designs included white plastic collars to keep sweaters and collared shirts up, bright stockings, dress-length men’s cardigans, and a pair of lounging pajamas. She eventually started to design the clothes herself, instead of buying stock from other suppliers.
Quant designed the miniskirt in the 60s. The idea was challenged by others, probably because it wasn’t matronly enough and showed too much leg for young females. Many people and magazines credited men with creating the style, but it was Quant who really put in the work. She said the miniskirt would now allow women to run to the bus. She named the skirt after her favorite car, the Mini. She said of the people that wore it: “They are curiously feminine, but their femininity lies in their attitude rather than in their appearance … She enjoys being noticed, but wittily. She is lively—positive—opinionated.” Later in the 60s, Quant made the hot pants popular as well. She quickly became a British fashion icon because of her outrageous ideas and amazing designs.
Mary was the first winner of the “Dress of the Year” award, and was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire. Later she was upgraded to be Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. In 1990 she won the Hall of Fame Award of the British Fashion Council. I find Mary Quant so inspiring because even today, and especially in the 20th century, women were and are still ridiculed for what clothing they wear (no matter how matronly, expressive, or revealing). Quant expressed her love for fashion and said that all girls should get to wear what they like without being judged. This applies to Muslim women who wear hijabs that are called terrorists, and women who get told that “they were asking for it” if they get raped while wearing revealing clothing.
Title from “Danny’s Song” by Kenny Loggins.