The Designer Behind Debbie Harry and Alison Mosshart Talks Post-Punk
When you hear of a designer’s client list that includes the likes of Debbie Harry, Siouxsie Sioux, Kylie Minogue, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and Naomi Campbell, you expect a certain quality of unbridled, badass girl power. Pam Hogg, the designer who does indeed boast this clientele, has this quality in spades, but one may not have expected an equal, if not greater, feeling of warmth.
Hogg is quite literally a living legend, working in a career that has blurred the lines between fashion designer and rock star for three decades. She presented her first collection in 1981, around the same time that she became heavily involved in various different new wave and post-punk bands, supporting the likes of The Pogues and working closely with The Cult and Siouxsie Sioux and the Banshees. Time has not slowed her down in the slightest; she still frequently collaborates with the likes of Siouxsie and Alison Mosshart of The Kills.
Milk spoke to Hogg recently to discuss her storied career, what it was like to go on tour with Debbie Harry, and her conflicting feelings of the fashion world today.
How do you feel about reaching ‘cult status’?
Ha! Well that was bestowed on me quite some time ago. It was flattering of course, but what it really meant to me was recognition that what I was doing meant something in the bigger picture.
You’ve managed to cross these different fields so effortlessly, but avoided selling out. How do you feel about other artists exploring different disciplines, if only for capital gain?
I don’t really dwell on what others do; that’s up to them. For me, I have a drive to create no matter what. For years I’ve been making collections out of nothing. I’ll use anything I can get my hands on, as without financial backing there’s no other way. However, I’d love to be able to create a commercial collection running alongside my every day work, to have resources to be able to reach my full potential. I’d like to employ a couple of people so I can concentrate more fully on my work.
What was it like to support Debbie Harry on tour? Any crazy road stories?
Debbie’s awesome, she’s a truly beautiful woman and a great friend. We had such a laugh. She has a great sense of humor, and all the shows we played together were all were amazing. But as for crazy stories, those stay in the family!
If you were to form a new all-girl supergroup, who would be your fellow bandmates and why?
It’s a dream right!? Hmmm…Joan Jett, Jennifer Herrema, Janis Joplin, Debbie too. And Siouxsie of course…how many goddesses can one have in one band! And I don’t think I need to say why!
Is it as cool as we think it is to be friends with Siouxsie Sioux and Alison Mosshart? What is a typical hangout session like?
We all know what its like to have special friends; it’s just the same as that. Sioux and I regularly go to see films. Fish ‘n chips and a movie once a week, there’s nothing like it!
What new, innovative thing would you like to see happen in fashion?
I’d just like to see fashion free from its conformist restraints. I’d like to see fashion encompass and embrace all talent, not just the obvious commercial minds. I feel it’s a duty to allow the innovative to flourish.
Is there anything about the current state of fashion that concerns you?
It’s so easy to steal a look these days. In fact, it often feels actively encouraged. “Get the celeb of the week look,” is the scream I hear from the media. And all the while, most of the time, these celebrities are styled by someone else. It’s important to stand your ground and be who you are. Fashion has a price to pay for its dictatorial attitudes, as it deprives people of their identity. Identity is a way of attracting like minded people. It acts as a scanner to connect.
What’s something that you think people should be paying more attention to?
To who they really are, and to find their own dreams. Everyone seems to want to be someone else these days. That said, it’s from your own stance that you can really see the world around you and have empathy and compassion with and for others.
Is there an ideal ‘Pam Hogg’ woman? What qualities does she have?
Not really. I just know when I see someone who feels special to me, someone who shines.
If there is one thing you could be remembered for, what would it be?
Someone who was true to themselves, someone unaffected by the meaningless goals that society dictates.
What is it about New Wave style and attitude that keeps it popular in today’s culture?
It was of a time when everyone was engaged in creating a style and not copying it. It was alive and fresh and vital.
Which artist would you like to work with today?
There are all kinds of artists, so it’s difficult to say. If the chance was there I’d perhaps like to team up with a musician and filmmaker to create a special piece, working with any forward thinking unrestrained artist would be amazing.
Do you have a style icon?
Not as such, but I admire many people for maintaining their individuality in this wannabe age.
Was there anyone you’ve designed for who you thought wore your clothes particularly well?
I don’t really design for anyone; they borrow or buy what I’ve created. I just help them choose what I feel is the right look for them. They’re the ones who make it their own.
What’s been one of the biggest challenges you’ve had in your career?
It’s a constant challenge trying to create what’s in my mind with no resources… The puzzle is often what brings out my best work, but I’d like a break. I’d like to reach my potential, so a bag of cash soon would be really helpful!
Visit Pam’s website here.
Photos by Simon Armstrong.