Pam Hogg is Doing it for Herself
The DIY mentality synonymous with the ’70s burns bright in fashion designer Pam Hogg. Perhaps that’s why her clothes—as unconventional as they may seem—resonate so strongly with defiant tastemakers such as Kate Moss, Rihanna, and Alison Mosshart. She produces all the garments herself, with only a few students on hand to help a few weeks before a show. Admittedly, everything being handmade is in equal parts thrilling and frustrating. “It’s, of course, not an ideal situation, as it takes so long,” she admits. “I’m totally self-taught, so it’s my way of working.”
Hogg’s rebellious attitude to fashion goes back to her years as a Blitz Kid. With its iron-clad door policy, she was prompted to make her own flamboyant outfits to get into the iconic Blitz club in the early ’80s, when it was not uncommon to bump into David Bowie or Bryan Ferry on the dance floor. “I’d heard how impossible it was to get past the door person unscathed,” Hogg reminisces. “Steve Strange was renowned for verbally slaughtering anyone not dressed correctly, so the first night was terrifying, but to our joy, he just whisked us in. It was the most exciting place on earth, all these gorgeous creatures outdoing each other with ingenious outfits and poses.”
Thirty years later, some of these gorgeous creatures still sit front row at her London Fashion Week show. But it took Hogg a while to come around to fashion again. She spent the early ’90s supporting Debbie Harry in a band called Doll; later in the decade, she worked on films. It was only in 2004, when a Spanish curator approached her about contributing some work to an exhibition (alongside Yoko Ono, Andy Warhol, and Kraftwerk no less) that Hogg’s interest in fashion was reignited. Fast forward to the present, and Hogg has a front row of which most established fashion houses would be envious. Princess Julia, Judy Blame, Jefferson Hack, and Nick Rhodes were all present at her most recent show—a testament to the respect that Hogg commands in her creative community.
Along with embellished catsuits, graphic jackets, and sculptural headpieces, her recent F/W 13 collection—aptly titled The Emperor’s New Clothes—stirred controversy for its full-frontal nudity. Two looks in particular, featuring unbuttoned jackets worn with nothing underneath, left little to the imagination. “It’s intriguing now as they [the two aforementioned looks] have become invisible,” Hogg says. “They don’t appear on any sites showing my looks for press and buyers. I’m hoping that they’ll be represented in back view, or indeed they will become The Emperor’s New Clothes.”
Trust Hogg to fulfill her own fashion prophecy. As unconventional as her process is, it seems to work. “It’s the roulette wheel,” says Hogg. “I don’t know which idea will take me forward, but when the wheel stops turning and the ball drops, they fuse and a collection emerges.” These collections are not to everyone’s taste, of course, but Hogg doesn’t subscribe to the rest of the fashion world. She looks to herself and the future. Perhaps Marky Ramone put it best, when he shook her hand backstage and said: “I’ve just seen the future, and I’m there with you.”