Part of what I love about work is that every Friday we have creative people come in to talk about their inspirations and their journeys to now. Called Culture Now, these bite-size casual conversations have become quite popular, and though they are bound to be hit and miss due to very practical reasons (the main one being that some conversations are more interesting and easier than others), I’ve been lucky to be at a few amazing ones; ones where the penny drops and you go away with your very own Eureka moment. And yesterday with Pam Hogg in the house, I got a dose of the boom bang clap, that I need to get online and write my blog. Yes, it’s become hard to find ideas that spark the posts. But then some days you have Pam Hogg days.
Well-known as the queen of underground fashion and music, Pam studied at the Glasgow School or Art before moving to London to study at the Royal College of Art. What the RCA didn’t provide her in terms of inspiration, the bustling London nightlife and club scene did. Her entry into fashion was borne out of a degree in textiles and the practical application of dressing herself up when she needed to get into London’s popular nightclubs in the 70’s and 80’s. What better way than to advertise your clothes by wearing them yourself?
After some amazing fashion work, Pam decided to immerse herself in making music and it took her a while to get back to designing. But I’m super glad she did as I can’t take my eye’s off the work she has been doing over the last three years. It’s nothing like what I would ever wear. But it’s art. And it demands attitude.
And Pam is beautiful and so kittenishly seductive. And she makes me want yellow hair.
The best thing I took away with me from her talk is what she said about her childhood years in Glasgow, when her family was very poor and her father didn’t have the money to buy her exciting gifts for her birthday or Christmas. Instead he made her gifts – small, beautiful, curious and sometimes weird things. But when giving them to her, he would cup his hands around the gift and present it to her like it was the most beautiful thing in the world. ‘No one else has something like this which makes it very special ‘ he would say. And Pam’s clothes are something like that.
Another interesting thing I picked up is that when she was a wee little girl, Pam’s father read her the entire Pilgrim’s Progress, one chapter a night. And years later the seeds of this book can still be found in her work, most of which evokes ideas of pilgrimage, battles, warriors and freedom. It’s amazing how without even trying, you absorb things that happen to and around you. And they pop up in the strangest ways, which we sometimes only realise in hindsight.
Here are some of Pam’s videos that she showed during her talk. It’s not only the models and the clothes you watch, but the music has something to it as well. She is so right when she says it’s all about the mood and the feeling.
Pam’s Culture Now was closely linked to our current Trojan exhibition that is on view till 18 November. An artist who died at the young age of 20, Trojan was very close to Leigh Bowery and John Maybury, and came from the same circuit and club scene as Pam. The exhibition is a small one but filled with history and personal anecdotes, and Charlie Porter’s done a great article about Trojan if you want to know more.
For me the private view was a Sartorialist’s dream and here is a glimpse of some of the attendees with a bit of the exhibition in the background. These amazing images are by Victoria Erdelevskaya and you can see more of them here.