History of the mini skirt
Mary Quant was one of the style pioneers of Swinging London – she introduced the bewildered world to not only patterned tights, not only Jean Shrimpton, not only the very concept of a high street fashion boutique… But also… the Mini! Mary Quant, we salute you!
Before the 1960s there was little to no fashion created specifically for teenage youth – only children’s wear and adult’s fashion. This was before the iconic Mary Quant opened ‘Bazaar’, one of the first boutiques of its kind. ‘Bazaar’ was entirely dedicated to teenage youth, filled with skinny-rib jumpers, knee high boots, white detachable collars, and – of course – the legendary Mini skirt.
Quant studied illustration at Goldsmith College before she opened Bazaar underneath her husband’s London restaurant. In 1966 she was awarded a OBE for her contribution to the fashion industry and also won the first award for ‘Dress of the year’. Huzzah!
Since about 1958, skirts have become progressively shorter, and although Quant didn’t essentially invent the mini skirt (which is said to have descended from the 1957 sack dress), she was nevertheless the first to design and market it successfully to the younger market. Mary Quant saw the Mini to be both liberating and practical, and therefore particularly relevant to teenage youth in her era.
Pop fact: Yes, it’s true! Mary Quant named her new fashion piece after the car (she loved Minis so much that she ended up designing a limited edition version).
The London scene was always more willing to try new things than its oversease sister cities and as a result it embraced this young, controversial design – just as it embraced Quant’s patterned tights and her model Jean Shrimpton. When London stood up and let itself be counted as a dedicated follower of fashion, the rest of the style world followed.
Mary Quant is arguably the bridge between the catwalk and high street fashion. In the 60′, catwalk trends simple weren’t readily available.
Without Quant we may not have had the wide choice we have today. And… who knows? Without Quant, the beloved iconic Mini of the swinging sixties may not have even existed!
Mary Quant was only too happy to wear her daring, modernist creations…