Review: Mary Quant: Fashion Revolutionary at Kelvingrove Art Gallery

With four weeks left, should you go?

If you’re back in Glasgow this Freshers’ season and looking for something to do that doesn’t involve clubs, unions, or drunken first years, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is the current and final host of an exhibition on Mary Quant, style revolutionist of the 60s.

With only four weeks left of the exhibit, this really is a last chance must see as the exhibit will not be held at any other museums. Not just for the fashion and history lovers among us, this exhibition is entertaining (and educational) for people of all ages and interests as I found when I took my mum. In fact, I found the Mary Quant exhibit particularly fascinating, so much so I went again two days later with my grandparents.

(Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

Mary Quant, 1930-2023, was a British fashion designer based in London during the 1960s. Quant swiftly became a household name and a “revolutionist” in the world of fashion. The 60s weren’t just a time of change for fashion, however, with media, graphics, advertising, journalism, and art all experiencing what can be described as a rebirth during the era.

The Kelvingrove exhibition, previously housed in the V&A Museum, includes many looks designed by Quant, along with items from her cosmetic line, accessories, and dolls she designed! The artefacts are accompanied by info cards, photos, and videos. Throughout the short walkthrough of the show, the youthful takeover of the 60s along with Quants impact and role in the liberation of women through her fashion is evident. I found I learned a whole load of new things, while still chilling and enjoying myself!

The exhibit at Kelvingrove is the perfect day out for students in Glasgow. The museum is local, so visiting during Fresher’s or in-between classes the first few weeks back is easy. The museum is also, of course, near Kelvingrove Park, meaning you can stop for a post exhibit picnic in this last few days of summer heat, or just take a walk through. After my own visit I took a stroll through the park and through campus, before stopping into Cottonrake for a coffee and cake. The perfect chill day out.

(Photo by SNS Group)

A different type of Freshers’ activity than the usual, the Mary Quant show at Kelvingrove was thoroughly enlightening and perfect afternoon entertainment. The style of clothes has obviously become timeless, with many current fashion trends mirroring designs on display. Plus, while your pals are dealing with a hangover from a Freshers foam party, you can brag about enriching yourself with culture and history.

Quant really was a revolutionist, as seen not only by the guest book at the exhibit exit containing messages from attendees thanking Quant for her work, but also by her OBE received in 1966 from Queen Elizabeth (and the above the knee dress Quant chose to wear to meet her)!

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