Mary Quant style was soon known as the Chelsea

Mary Quant
without any real training in fashion, -as she was a young art student at the
time-, possessed of a clear vision, she decided that she wanted to provide fun
and excitement in the form of clothing to ordinary girls like herself. Quant
stated in her autobiography that she found everyday apparel for both youth and
adults boring and very unpleasant on the eyes – ‘To me adult appearance was
very unattractive, alarming and terrifying, stilted, confined, and ugly. I knew
it was not something that I wanted to grow into’, she also said the following ‘I
hated the clothes the way they were, I wanted clothes that were much more for
life, much more for real people, much more for being young and alive.’. Quant began
her business in 1955 when she opened her first boutique, Bazaar, in London’s
King’s Road. Bazaar catered for a new generation of young, newly-affluent
adults who had time to enjoy shopping, it inspired many imitations in ‘Swinging
London’, and out of
her small boutique in London hit upon the winning combinations and created a
fashion feeding frenzy starting with the mini skirt. Styles which were
previously driven by the necessities of the middle class were now being
designed for young people who constituted a newly empowered buyers’ market. Quant
anticipated an age; her clothes were fresh, breezy and bright, at a time when
Britain was still grey and boring. Quant found London girls seeking newness
only too willing to try her new darling short mini skirt and the fashion trend
took off because it was so different; and to wear it well, you had to be
youthful to get away with an outfit that was so controversial, particularly
among adults. The Quant style was soon known as the Chelsea Look. The shapes
Quant designed were simple, neat, clean cut and young. They were made from
cotton gabardines and adventurous materials like PVC. The Kings Road in Chelsea
became one of the main clothes centres of the Sixties in London, following the success
of a small lane behind Regent Street near Oxford Circus, called Carnaby Street.
These were the fashion shrines of British youth in the early to mid-Sixties. By
1965 Carnaby Street had become the centre for boutiques, with all the latest
clothes for the dedicated fashion followers of ‘Swinging London’

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