Mary Quant is a fashion designer and British fashion icon. Born in England to Welsh parents on 11 February 1934, 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 hot pants, 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 '60s, 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 in Blackheath, southeast London, on 11 February 1934, the daughter of Welsh teachers. Her parents, Jack and Mary Quant, were both from mining families. They had been awarded scholarships to grammar school and had both attained first-class degrees at Cardiff University, before moving to London to work as schoolteachers. Quant 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 the Claridge's hotel.
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).