Dame Barbara Mary Quant, Mrs Plunket Greene, DBE, FCSD, RDI (born 11 February 1930) is an English fashion designer and fashion icon, who is of Welsh heritage.
She became an instrumental figure in the 1960s London-based Mod and youth fashion movements. She was one of the designers who took credit for the miniskirt and hotpants, and by promoting these and other fun fashions she encouraged young people to dress to please themselves and to treat fashion as a game. Ernestine Carter, an authoritative and influential fashion journalist of the 1950s and 1960s, wrote: “It is given to a fortunate few to be born at the right time, in the right place, with the right talents. In recent fashion there are three: Chanel, Dior, and Mary Quant.”
Quant was born on 11 February 1930 in Blackheath, London, the daughter of Welsh teachers. Her parents, Jack and Mildred Quant were both from mining families; however, they had been awarded scholarships to grammar school and had both attained first-class degrees at Cardiff University before they moved to London to work as school teachers.
She went to Blackheath High School, then studied illustration at Goldsmiths College. After gaining a Diploma in Art Education from Goldsmiths, Quant began an apprenticeship at Erik, a high-end Mayfair milliner on Brook Street next door to Claridge’s hotel.
BOOKS BY QUANT
- 1966: Quant by Quant — her first autobiography
- 1984: Colour by Quant
- 1986: Quant on Make-up
- 1999: Classic Make-up and Beauty Book
- 2011: Mary Quant: Autobiography — her second autobiography
She met her future husband and business partner, Alexander Plunket Greene, in 1953. They were married from 1957 until his death in 1990, and had a son, Orlando (b. 1970).