u3a - Exclusive interview U3A National Event

Exclusive interview U3A National Event

  • Published : 23 March 2020
  • Views: 2645

Following the suspension of the National Events Programme due to government advice on social distancing, the key speaker for Behind the Scenes of Dame Mary Quant - Heather Tilbury Phillips, Bury St Edmunds U3A and former Director of Mary Quant’s Company, has kindly agreed to give an exclusive interview with U3A about the fashion icon’s enduring legacy.


Interview with Bury St Edmunds U3A member, Heather Tilbury Phillips, the former Director of Mary Quant’s Company.

How did you become involved with Mary Quant?

In 1967, I joined a company called Kangol who had the licensing for Mary Quant berets. I got to know Mary and the team quite well. When I left Kangol, Mary asked me to join the company to handle their Marketing and PR. I worked with her during the 70s, subsequently becoming Director of the company. 

How did you get involved with the Mary Quants events, such as the exhibition at the V&A?

I was concerned that Mary wasn’t really being credited with all the things she achieved in her career. I talked to the V&A and initially we discussed a book. I realised there would need to be an exhibition as well, to which they responded enthusiastically. That’s how the Mary Quant exhibition happened in London. I think what the V&A did so brilliantly was bring it home to people just how pioneering, forward thinking and directional Mary always was.

Why do you think Mary Quant’s designs have such an enduring legacy?

It was such fun. Her clothes were life-changing for a generation that had just lived through the war. They were still young and they wanted clothes that were different to what their mothers wore. She realised the importance of colour and easy to wear fabrics. 

What was Mary like to work with?

We were a very small group working together. She was always open to ideas, she’d bounce thoughts and suggestions off of us and ask for our input. That was wonderfully empowering and inspiring.

What can members expect from your talk at the U3A Mary Quant talk?

When the U3A event does take place, I will explain how she started, how the business grew, showing of course slide presentations, and discussing some of the key events from her very long career.

You can read a longer version of this interview on our blog Sources Online

Note: Due to the popularity of all our National Events, the national Events coordinator is hoping to rearrange them for the Autumn. Please keep checking for updates on the national website events page, in member’s magazine Third Age Matters and on our National Newsletter.