Early in 1965, a 31-year-old fashion designer living in London, England observed young Londoners walking around her boutique named Bazaar in the chic West London area of Chelsea. They would roll up the waist bands of their already shorter than knee length skirts in order to give themselves even shorter hemlines, something that was not readily available in stores. So, this young designer named Mary Quant got to work and on the 1st of September in 1965, at a New York fashion even called the “Youthquake”, mini skirts were finally born!
Even back then, the mini skirt had created quite a stir, not just because of its length or lack there of, but because of two designers both laying claim to this fashion “invention”. French designer André Courrèges had skirts that were considered shorter than norm in his collection the year before and this is why there are quite a number of fashion aficionados who give him the credit for the mini skirt. There were also other designers who had already shortened skirts they had already designed and had walking down their runways. However, it was Mary Quant at the “Youthquake” on that cool day in September of 1965 that had truly shone the spotlight on this scant piece of cloth that Quant herself was to dub as the “mini skirt”. The name came as a result of her love for her favorite car, the Mini by the British Motor Corporation (BMC). It is also important to note that Quant’s mini skirts were much shorter than those of other designers. The fact that the French fashion industry was not too happy by this London-based designer creating such a popular fashion trend made their call for André Courrèges, a Frenchman, to be acknowledged as the original mini skirt “inventor” all the more necessary in their eyes. However, Mary Quant’s name has become synonymous with the word “mini skirt” and is possibly more deserving to be given credit for its creation.
Mary Quant was very much aware that it was the youth who were more in tune to what was trendy because they themselves would set the trends during the swinging 60s. With this in mind, Quant’s participation in “Youthquake” was unique because it was geared more towards young people than to the older set. Live music was supplied by a band from Milwaukee called The Skunks while models danced the popular dances of the 1960s. Quant believed that music and fashion were meant to be together.
“Youthquake” went through eight cities in the United States and these music and mod fueled fashion spectacles brought in the young crowds and they were definitely hooked on to these so-called mini skirts. The Puritan Fashion Group went on to produce Mary Quant’s affordable mini wonders and they were being snagged left and right by style conscious girls and women in the United States. Mary Quant said it best when she stated that the mini skirt was “a fashion classic that will never be replaced”.
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