Kate Garner was expelled from high school at the age of 16 and became a runaway who joined The Children Of God. To escape the grasp of the cult she hitchhiked from London through Eastern Europe to India in 1970, where she lived for a year as a traveller before being located by her parents. She attended art school at Blackpool in the North of England and later moved to London, where she began to both photograph and model for up and coming magazines such as The Face and i-D.
Kate Garner first came widely into the public eye as one-third of the 1980s avant-garde, new wave pop project Haysi Fantayzee, along with other members Jeremy Healy and Paul Caplin. Emanating from street art scenes such as the Blitz Kids that were cropping up in London in the early 1980s, Haysi’s music combined reggae, country and electro with political and sociological lyrics couched as nursery rhymes.
Catapulted to stardom by their visual sensibilities, Haysi Fantayzee combined their extreme clothes sense – described as combining white Rasta, tribal chieftain and Dickensian styles – with a quirky musical sound comparable to other new wave musical pop acts of the era, such as Bow Wow Wow, Adam and the Ants and Bananarama. They appeared several times on the BBC Television programme Top of the Pops. Despite being touted by Bowie producer Tony Visconti as the next big thing, the group quickly disbanded after releasing three hit singles “John Wayne Is Big Leggy”, “Shiny Shiny” and “Holy Joe”, and an album, Battle Hymns for Children Singing, that went gold.