Whilst Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen and Gareth Pugh have gone on to international success with their punk infused, outrageously symbolic creations; Pam Hogg always seems to slip through the net of approval. Just the way she likes it. But surely a great British talent like hers deserves to be identified, as the rest are, and celebrated for the reason why London is the creative fashion hub of the world.
After studying Fine Art and Printed Textiles at Glasgow School of Art, the budding Scottish designer went on to gain a Masters at the Royal College of Art in London, before launching the Pam Hogg line in 1981. Here the bold, courageous, bondage designs of a wee rebellious woman with a fiercely dominant attitude, was an instant sell out at Kensington boutique, Hyper Hyper, before opening her standalone store on Newburgh Street, Soho in 1989. Never wanting to be seen, heard or praised by the mainstream, Hogg looked instead towards the club culture and music of the 1980s, which is still her main contender of inspiration today. With the punk era in full throttle (although what constituted the punk ethos was fading, along with the bands who made it, but the irony of ‘punk fashion’ was most definitely at its peak) club nights such as Steve Strange’s infamous debauched mass, Blitz and with the likes of menacingly sexy heroines, Siouxsie Sioux (who she became good friends with) and Debbie Harry at the forefront of fashion and music; the time was now for Pam Hogg.
Having fronted numerous trashy-punk bands herself and most recently, her collaboration with Jarvis Cocker’s musical partner Jason Buckle, a rockabilly delight that reinstated Pam’s rock chick heritage and unsheltered love and respect for music. This fierce passion can be seen in her designs which are aimed towards the sweaty, theatrical confinements of hip underground clubs, loud industrial sounds on the stage at Nashville festival (which she played with band Pigface) before swaggering with androgynous attitude, down the pavement to the afterparty of the afterparty.
From her iconic space silver/Ziggy catsuits, which donned a variety of celebrities on the On/Off catwalk at LFW AW09 (styled by Daze and Confused fashion editor, Katie Shillingford certainly propelled the catsuit back into the spotlight) saw her firmly back on fashion soil after a musical interlude lasting over a decade. Her return corresponded beautifully with her debut collection in 1981, ‘Psychedelic Jungle’ which saw her love for PVC, corsets and severe body con unleashed to the public for the first time, and to what she is still renowned for today.
Having dressed the likes of Paula Yates, Jaime Winstone, Anita Pallenberg and Kate Moss, directed short films, To Kingdom Come and Accelerator; constantly being invited to showcase her creations at exhibitions, styling musicians from Ice Queen of Punk’s world tour to pop songstress, kylie Minogue’s 2 Hearts video, asked the biggest fashion honour in dressing Brown’s Halloween window display in 2008 and generally having such a profound effect on modern day culture; yet it seems, she still hovers in the background, dancing to her own tune. As Katie Grand, Editor-in-Chief at Pop and LOVE magazine states, “People could have been referencing her for the last decade because of the whole Eighties, body-conscious revival, but they haven’t – perhaps because there’s this snobbish element… Her work’s much more direct than that.” Perhaps this is why she did not show at LFW last season, instead choosing our Parisian neighbours. Yet, her trademark SpongeBob yellow hair, smudged inky roots (rocking it way before BLEACH hair salon got their latex mitts on every Dalston head) vampire-powdered complexion, battered pixie boots, leather drainpipes and piercing emerald eyes. A complete do it yourself attitude that everyone is copying; obliviously unaware of their inspiration origin. Never compromising and putting two fingers up, seems to be the rules Ms. Hogg plays by. “Hopefully one day I’ll be recognised and supported by the British Fashion Council and will come back to London. But for now- viva la France!” Oh, how she will be missed. So what 5 things don’t we know about that brilliantly scary woman from Glasgow?
1) Terry Wogan is a fan. Yes really. The soft spoken, Irish fellow from Eurovision and a Points of View on a Sunday afternoon, introduced her most graciously as, “One of the most original, inventive, creative designers in Britain. She has reached what is called Cult Status”. If the BFC do not appreciate the talent, at least she will always have a supporter in Wogan.
2) Pam won four prestigious awards at Glasgow School of Art before gaining a scholarship to Royal College of Art. These included; the Newbury Medal of Distinction, the Frank Warner Memorial Medal, the Leverhulme Scholarship and the Royal Society of Arts Bursary. Not just a pretty (intimidating) face.
3) She has a crucifix tattooed from her wrist-bone to knuckles on her left hand. Of course she would.
4) She was the first designer to exhibit at the Glasgow Museum in 1990 with a packed out show. Is that commercial success ringing in the distance? No, just alarm bells.
5) Is still one of the only designers left in the world that produces all the work herself. When Hogg re-launched her fashion status in 2009, she admitted she still did not have a sponsor and only got the ‘gig’ through the generosity of her fashion friends. Without a design assistant and only investing in a dressmaker dummy recently (previously pinning all the templates on herself) it is the D.I.Y attitude that has won her hoards of respect with fans. “I knew I was going to come back to fashion at some point, although I didn’t know when – that’s how I am. I’ve got no money.”
Punk ‘til she dies.