Posted : 19 August 2020

Mary Quant celebrated in V&A Dundee’s first fashion photoshoot

An iconic photograph of fashion designer Mary Quant taken in 1966 has been recreated by V&A Dundee, ahead of the opening of its first major fashion exhibition celebrating the influential designer (Thursday 27 August).

Mary Quant changed the fashion system, overturning the dominance of Paris couturiers, and transformed young women like her into the new leaders of style.

The new images shot on location inside and outside Scotland’s first design museum before it temporarily closed feature new textiles created by five emerging designers inspired by the work of Mary Quant.

Lucy Carrie, Emer Dobson, Sandra Junele, Humaira Khan and Jane Neave, all 3rd year Textile Design students at the University of Dundee’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, were presented with an opportunity to work with V&A Dundee earlier this year as part of a project titled 21st Century Quant, examining Mary Quant’s design legacy.

The new designers were asked to create textiles inspired by Quant’s 1960s rebellion, but also that responded to the big issues facing today’s fashion world. Detailed research and experimentation led them to explore urgent themes such as climate change, consumerism, and racism.

The textiles were then transformed into four dresses made to the exact specification of an original Mary Quant Butterick dressmaking pattern. The knitted cape designed by textile design student Sandra Junele was inspired by Quant’s famous Alligator cape, and references the importance of repurposing clothing waste as a way to tackle problems caused by fast fashion and over-consumption.

Emer Dobson created a repeat pattern using the outline of non-recyclable packaging to highlight the problem of sustainability and the issue of hidden waste.

Emer Dobson said:  “I tried to think about how the last 60 years would have changed Mary Quant’s design process, her aesthetic and her ethos. The main thing I took from my research was that she wanted to design for everyone, was forward-thinking and quite a revolutionary.

“I looked at mass production and used the supermarket as my visual source, and the onslaught of advertising and bright colours. I used that as a starting place to critique mass production. I think Mary Quant probably would have had a similar take on things.

“Every time I had an idea I thought, ‘What would Mary do?’ I think she’d be annoyed by all of this. I think she would want sustainability.”

Lucy Carrie created a design inspired by graffiti text protesting against racism, while Jane Neave’s acid-bright design is inspired by Quant’s fashion statements which challenged gender stereotypes. 

Jane Neave said:  “I really considered how Mary Quant looked, how she wore suits even though it wasn’t really done then. She designed with women, and what women wanted, in mind. Then I thought about this in relation to designing my textile and dress.”

Pharmacist turned textile designer Humaira Khan leveraged her scientific knowledge to create her dyes from scratch.

Humaira Khan said:  “Measuring dyes in the lab was exactly like my work as a production pharmacist in which I handled all the raw materials in point zero one to thousands of litres. This experience formed an excellent basis for dyes I created for this project. Though it’s a complex process, I didn’t experience any difficulties.”

After the exhibition this year and graduation next, Humaira plans to establish her own textile design business.

“I want to do something with innovation and sustainability,” she said. “I want to make items that avoid landfill, I want to make longer-lasting products.”

Sophie McKinlay, Director of Programme at V&A Dundee said:  “Mary Quant started out as a young art student, going on to become one of Britain’s best-known designers with a unique vision to use fashion as a way to communicate new attitudes and ideas. All of us at V&A Dundee have enjoyed taking a fresh look at Mary Quant’s legacy through the lens of these five young designers as they embark on their own design careers. We are delighted to celebrate Mary Quant opening at V&A Dundee with this inspiring and unique collaboration.”

Professor Anita Taylor, Dean at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design said :  “21st Century Quant has been such an exciting project for our Textile Design students – their final designs boldly reimagine the spirit of Quant and present a fresh and feisty take on her transformational legacy and reflect and respond to current issues of climate change, social justice, and sustainability in the fashion industry. Congratulations to our emerging leaders of style!”

The 21st Century Quant shoot was the first time V&A Dundee has been used as a fashion shoot location. The new designers worked with fashion industry professionals, photographer Aleksandra Modrzjewska and stylist Kristen Neillie.  A 2014 textile design graduate of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Kristen Neillie has gone on to work with Vogue, Dazed and Net-a-Porter.

The 21st Century Quant garments will be on display at V&A Dundee for the opening week of Mary Quant, on show outside the exhibition entrance.

The exhibition which focuses on the years between 1955 and 1975 will also feature the stories of women who made outfits from Mary Quant’s dressmaking patterns, gathered through V&A Dundee’s #SewQuant campaign, as well as a new film looking at contemporary female designers who, like Mary Quant, are forging their own way through today’s rapidly shifting fashion industry.

Dresses with printed textiles designed by Lucy Carrie, Emer Dobson, Sandra Junele, Humaira Khan and Jane Neave. Dress production by Min Atelier.

Cape with knitted textile designed by Sandra Junele, produced by JAG Knitwear, 2020

Mary Quant was curated by Jenny Lister and Stephanie Wood of the V&A and shown at V&A South Kensington from 6 April 2019 to 16 February 2020. 

The Mary Quant exhibition at V&A Dundee opens Thursday 27 August to 17 January 2021.

Mary Quant at V&A Dundee is supported by Barclays Private Bank.

#QuantDundee #SewDundee




Photo credits :

1966 photograph:  Mary Quant and her Ginger Group of girls in Market Street Manchester. February 1966. Photo by Howard Walker, Mirrorpix, Getty Images
21st Century Quant photograph:  Photographed by Aleksandra Modrzjewska on location at V&A Dundee, styled by Kristen Neillie, Hair by Kay McIntyre, Make up by Jill Syme.

Designers: Lucy Carrie, Emer Dobson, Sandra Junele, Humaira Khan and Jane Neave.

Models: Catriona Merchant, Joy Gansh, Jolene Guthrie, Lindsey Gordon, Maisie Farrer.


Posted : 14 July 2020

V&A Dundee will reopen on Thursday 27 August with its first major fashion exhibition, Mary Quant, and an exciting new programme extending throughout the whole museum. 


Mary Quant is the first international retrospective on the iconic British designer who disrupted the fashion establishment, captured the spirit of London in the 1960s, and started a fashion revolution that a whole generation wanted to take part in – and still continues today. 


The exhibition will run from 27 August to 17 January 2021, with tickets on sale from today at This will be followed by Night Fever: Designing Club Culture from 27 March to 5 September 2021. 


Turner Prize-winning architecture collective Assemble will begin work in V&A Dundee on Making Room from 27 August, a project with Dundee Central Library, local school pupils and the museum’s Young People’s Collective.  


Making Room is taking inspiration from historic buildings in Dundee to produce a new interior room that will be built in V&A Dundee before being moved to Dundee Central Library, where it will function as an area for digital learning and making for the city. 


Scotland’s first design museum has also curated a new exhibition in response to the coronavirus pandemic, looking at how designers responded to the crisis. Now Accepting Contactless: Design in a Global Pandemic will be shown in the Michelin Design Gallery, in spaces throughout the museum and, for the first time, outside the museum as well. 


Other design projects will be shown across the museum, including Sewing Box for the Future and films from the Schools Design Challenge, as well as the reopening of the Scottish Design Galleries including Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s iconic Oak Room. 


A number of measures will be in place across the museum to ensure a safe, welcoming and inspiring experience for visitors and staff alike. All visitors will need to book free tickets to enter the museum, as part of the essential steps to keep visitors safe and to ensure physical distancing. Those free tickets can also be booked from today at 


Mary Quant at V&A Dundee is supported by Barclays Private Bank. Making Room and the Schools Design Challenge are both supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. 


Leonie Bell, incoming Director of V&A Dundee, said: “I am hugely excited to be preparing to join the team at V&A Dundee, particularly at a time when Scotland’s first design museum will be reopening and welcoming visitors back with Mary Quant, its first major fashion exhibition, and its most ambitious programme to date.  


“That programme also includes the brilliant architecture collective Assemble working with young people in Dundee and an exploration of how designers responded to the pandemic, underlining the importance of design to everyone’s lives.” 


Sophie McKinlay, Director of Programme at V&A Dundee, said: “Everyone at V&A Dundee is delighted to be preparing our remarkable museum to reopen once again, and we have all been working hard to welcome visitors back for a safe, enjoyable experience. 


“Mary Quant is a remarkable designer who did so much to revolutionise the fashion industry and to empower women to wear clothes that looked great and felt great, and it’s the perfect choice for our first major fashion exhibition. 


“Across the rest of the museum visitors will see more than they’ve ever seen before, with displays inside and outside the museum that explore creative responses to how the world has changed and how we hope it may change in the future.” 


Dundee City Council leader John Alexander said: “The reopening of V&A Dundee will be yet another important milestone in the city’s journey out of lockdown. 


“I am pleased that the Assemble partnership with Central Library will see local young people given the opportunity to get involved in an exciting design project that reaches out into the community. 


“I also hope that our local economy and businesses will be given a boost by visitors who come to the city because of the tremendous attractions of V&A Dundee and its Mary Quant exhibition.” 


Mary Quant designed clothes that made people feel good. She made quality designer fashion affordable through licensing her youthful and playful brand, creating dressmaking patterns, make-up and accessories that all showcased her iconic daisy logo. 


Mary Quant encouraged a new age of feminism, inspiring young women to rebel against the traditional clothing worn by their mothers and grandmothers. Her shop Bazaar opened in 1955, the year after World War Two food rationing ended, and her colourful designs were a reaction against the austerity and drabness of post-war London. 


Mary Quant is famous for popularising the miniskirt, but her designs offered many different versions of femininity and challenged the conventional gender stereotypes of post-war Britain. 

Key objects featured within the exhibition include the pioneering ‘Wet Collection’ PVC rainwear, a jute miniskirt, and designs that playfully subverted menswear at a time when women were still banned from wearing trousers in formal settings such as restaurants. 


The exhibition in Dundee will also feature the stories of women who made outfits from Mary Quant’s dressmaking patterns, gathered through V&A Dundee’s #SewQuant campaign, as well as a new film looking at contemporary female designers who, like Mary Quant, are forging their own way through today’s rapidly shifting fashion industry. 


Mary Quant was curated by Jenny Lister and Stephanie Wood of the V&A and shown at V&A South Kensington from 6 April 2019 to 16 February 2020.  





Image:  © PA Prints 2008

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