As part of the ICA’s Culture Now series, iconic fashion designer, musician and artist Pam Hogg spoke with Gregor Muir, the institute’s director. In an intimate setting on a Friday afternoon, audience members were taken on a journey featuring rock & roll, crazy parties, fashion and celebrities. Suffice to say a glimpse into Hogg’s life and career bore witness to a live history book of 80s Brit pop culture; far from mundane, very memorable and remarkably honest. When Sleek asked what was her greatest accomplishment and biggest regret, Hogg made reference to her recent fashion show in Paris, demonstrating her drive and determination as a designer, while briefly mentioning her mother who has passed away.
Hogg didn’t hold back and shared her life story, starting right from the beginning with her upbringing in a small and relatively poor town outside Glasgow. Hogg’s close relationship with her father was of defining importance, and allowed for an in depth understanding of subsequent years. Here’s a man who, despite limited funds, always found a way to make his daughter feel special; making gifts by hand while mentioning that ‘no one else has something like this one’, which not only gave Hogg an inner confidence but was also responsible for her own innate desire to make things – a hobby she took up at the age of four.
For the rest of her life, from Glasgow School of Art to the Royal College of Art in London ‘nothing was ever planned’ – a mindset that was instrumental in her career successes. Although moving to London was disappointing with respect to her studies (she preferred Glasgow to the Royal College) it was the city’s rock & roll party scene which really caught Hogg’s interest and inadvertently led to her fashion career. The Blitz club scene was key. With dress code entry requirements favouring the weird and wonderful Hogg did what she did best and started making her own outfits to get into clubs. (At this point in the talk Hogg indulged the audience with numerous anecdotes – Boy George in his early days, the start of her music career including the likes of her first band ‘Rubbish’, which, she candidly admitted was exactly as the name suggests, and her huge success as fashion designer). When people started asking where she had gotten her clothes, orders for her handmade creations started flowing and after just one collection Hogg was already in demand by Bloomingdales, Harrods and other prestigious department stores as well as dressing the iconic celebrities such as Debbie Harry.
Fast-forward to today and these successes are still in motion despite a hiatus from heavy partying. Hogg is now working as a designer from her studio and preparing for her next collection to be shown in Paris.