Fashion City Exhibition at Museum of London Docklands

Step into a traditional tailors’ workshop in the East End and wander among stylish boutiques on Carnaby Street while learning about incredibly talented Jewish creators who founded the most famous high street brands and dressed celebrities, such as David Bowie, Mick Jagger, and Princess Diana.

 

We visited Fashion City exhibition’s late night event at Museum of London Docklands.

 

@urbanadventurerldn

?? *invite* ‘Fashion City: How Jewish Londoners shaped global style’ exhibition at Museum of London Docklands @Museum of London [BLOG POST IN BIO] ? Learn how incredibly talented Jewish creators founded the most famous high street brands and dressed celebrities, such as David Bowie, Mick Jagger, and Princess Diana ? Step into a traditional tailor’s workshop in the East End and wander among stylish boutiques in the West End ? Learn incredible stories about Jewish immigrants who helped shaping London to become a fashion capital #fashioncity #museumoflondon #fashion #fashiontiktok #fashionhistory #jewishhistory #princessdiana #mickjagger #davidbowie #CapCut

♬ Vogue (Edit) – Madonna

 

Fashion City – How Jewish Designers Shaped London to Become a Fashion Capital

 

Fashion City – How Jewish Designers Shaped London to Become a Fashion Capital

Photo: Urban Adventurer

 

 

Did you know that Jewish immigrants who arrived in London in the late 19th and eary-20th century, had a huge contribution on turning London the world’s fashion centre?

 

And that over 50% of those Jewish people who arrived in London during that time ended up working in the fashion industry?

 

For the first time, Fashion City exhibition discovers the stories behind the Jewish fashion makers, tailors and designers who founded some of the most famous fashion brands still exist today and helped London become the world’s fashion capital.

 

The exhibition leads its visitors from traditional tailors’ workshops on the East End to the glamorous boutiques of the West End while telling stories about Jewish business owners who revolutionised the way clothing was made, bought and experienced.

 

Unbelievable Stories You May Have Never Heard Of

 

Fashion City - Museum of London Docklands

Photo: Urban Adventurer

 

 

Did you know that it was a Jewish woman, Cecil Gee, who revolutionised shopping experience by displaying clothes on hangers that customers could touch and try in boutiques instead of the clothes folded up on shelves behind the counter?

 

Or that Jewish shop owners also played a pivotal role in turning Carnaby Street into a centre of “swinging London” during the 1960s?

 

They did that by advertising their shops in the most innovative ways. For example, they invited bands to play live music within shops or women dressing in shop windows. One shop even hired actress Christine Spooner and a Welsh crooner, Tom Jones to walk a cheetah up and down the street to attract shoppers.

 

 

Menswear by Mr Fish at Fashion City Exhibition

Menswear by Mr Fish

Photo: Urban Adventurer

 

 

Many Jewish designers were actively shaping pop culture, such as Mr Fish. Mr Fish became famous for denying trousers were suitable wear for men. So, in the 1960s and 1970s they created dresses for men that superstars, like Mick Jagger and David Bowie became fans of.

 

Wedding Dress by Netty Spiegel - Fashion City Exhibition

Wedding Dress by Netty Spiegel

Photo: Urban Adventurer

 

15-year-old Netty Spiegel arrived in London alone after her entire family were killed in the Holocaust. Her dream was to become a fashion designer and open her own couture salon. She later successfully fulfilled her dream and would create magnificent wedding dresses for her prestigious clients.

 

Molmax Bag - Fashion City Exhibition

Molmax Bag

Photo: Urban Adventurer

 

 

Another fascinating addition to the exhibition is the story of a leather goods company, called Molmax. Molmax was started by the exhibition’s lead curator, Dr Lucie Whitmore’s great-grandfather who came to London in 1938 to escape from the Holocaust.

 

Molmax specialised in leather luggage and handbags and later would produce items for Harrods.

 

 

Fashion City Late: From Petticoat Lane to Savile Row

 

Fashion City Exhibition - Museum of London Docklands

Photo: Urban Adventurer

 

  

To celebrate this remarkable exhibition, Urban Adventurer was invited to an electrifying late-night event, called ‘Fashion City Late: From Petticoat Lane to Savile Row’.

 

The event was held on 15th February with special guided exhibition tours, workshops, talks and screenings and guests were encouraged to wear their finest or most extravagant clothes to show what really makes the city of fashion capital.

 

This special event was part of British Fashion Council’s City Wade Celebration of 40 years of London Fashion Week.

 

Headwear Workshop at Fashion City Late

Headwear Workshop

Photo: Urban Adventurer

 

 

There was a headwear workshop led by award-winning milliner, Sahar Freemantle, whose hats can be seen in famous film, ‘Downtown Abbey’ and have been exhibited at the V&A.

 

There were fashion talks about the history of second-hand clothing and how Marks & Spencer pioneered new underwear styles in the 20th century.

 

There was film screening of ‘Maytime in Mayfair’ (1949) that tells the story of a man who becomes the heir of a glamorous fashion house.

 

Also, we had comedy show and games throughout the evening.

 

Practical Info

 

Fashion City How Jewish Londoners shaped global style

Photo: Urban Adventurer

 

 

 

Address

Museum of London Docklands | No 1, West India Quay, Hertsmere Rd, London E14 4AL

 

Opening Times

13 October 2023 – 14 April 2024

Mon – Sun: 10am – 5pm | Last entry: 3:15pm

 

Tickets

Adult: £13

Children under 12: FREE

Children (ages 12 -17): £6.50

Tickets can be purchased on Museum of London’s website

 

 

 

 

 

Ready for your next adventure? Serpentine South Gallery recently opened a new exhibition. ‘Barbara Kruger: Thinking of You. I mean Me. I Mean You.’ is a thought-provoking exhibition about consumerism, gender and power and pushing visitors to re-think how they see the world around them.