Remembering Fashion Designer Dame Marie Quant

A designer credited with creating the mini-skirt and a fashion icon of the 1960s, Dame Mary Quant, died today, April 13, at 93. She invented the mini-skirt in addition to a million other modern fashion staples, including hot pants. She is considered one of the most influential and counter-cultural designers, impacting society in ways never imagined.

Mary Quant's Life

Dame Marie Quant getting her hair cut
Photo Credit: Chris Lopez.

Quant was born on February 11, 1930, in Blackheath, London as the daughter of Welsh teachers. Though her parents discouraged her from studying fashion in college, she studied art education at Goldsmith's College in London. After finishing her degree, she apprenticed with Erik Braagaard, a high-end Mayfair milliner on Brook Street next door to Claridge's hotel. 

Soon after, Quant sold clothing sourced from wholesalers in her new boutique in Kings Road named Bazaar. Here, she built up a personal brand and style while beginning to design her clothes. Quant was a self-taught designer inspired by the culture-forward “Chelsea Set” of artists and socialites. Quant's designs revolutionized fashion from the utilitarian wartime standard of the late 1940s to the colorful and playful energy of the 1950s and 1960s. Her designs were riskier and more unique than standard styles.  

Inventing The Mini-Skirt

Marie Quant sketching
Photo Credit: Chris Lopez.

“It was the girls on King's Road who invented the mini,” said Quant. “I was making clothes which would let you run and dance, and we would make them the length the customer wanted,″ she said. “I wore them very short, and the customers would say, ‘shorter, shorter.'” Her styles were famous and popularized by models Twiggy and Pattie Boyd. 

In 1963, Quant was the first Dress of the Year award winner. In 1966 she was appointed Officer of the British Empire (OBE) for her outstanding contribution to the fashion industry. In addition to creating the mini-skirt, she made and popularized colored and patterned tights and hot pants. 

She married her business partner Alexander Plunket Greene in 1957 and stayed with him until he died in 1990. Together they had a son, Orlando, born in 1969. Quant was appointed a dame by Queen Elizabeth II in 2014.

Quant's family said she died “peacefully at home” in Surrey, southern England, on April 13. The statement also noted that she “was one of the most internationally recognized fashion designers of the 20th century and an outstanding innovator of the Swinging '60s.”

Where Can I Learn More About Dame Mary Quant?

Quant promotional poster, marie quant documentary
Photo Credit: Studio Soho.

Those interested in learning more about her can watch her documentary Quant only through Chicken Soup for the Soul. You can also check out a trailer here.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.