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Fashion City at the Museum of London Docklands REVIEW

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

There is a sad irony to the timing of this new exhibition at the Docklands outpost of the Museum of London. The press view took place on 9 October, the Monday after the attacks in Southern Israel. The show's sub-title, 'How Jewish Londoners shaped global style', underpins a comprehensive look at Jewish involvement in the garment and accessories trade in the 20th century.

The show is imaginatively laid out. You start in the Jewish communities of the East End where, at the turn of the 20th century, over 60% were employed in the clothing and accessories trade. With the arrival of the underground, follow the Central line to Oxford Circus, the West End and Carnaby Street. Teen fashionistas will enjoy the Vogue hats of Otto Lucas and the funky designs of Mr Fish, displayed here to the soundtracks of the stars who wore his clothes. More seriously, there is lots to learn about displacement, discrimination and segregation which is given a human angle through the stories of ordinary people. It is not a gloomy show though. The enormous talent on display, created largely by artisans who were never well-known, is extraordinary.

There is less on offer to appeal to younger kids and, perhaps because of the international situation, we found the dressing up section where you can try on wedding garb and pose for a photo slightly jarring.

That said, as ever with the Museum of London, there are lots of excellent family activities in connection with the exhibition. Over half term, choose from digital fashion workshops, making sessions and even a cookery session with a fashion twist! And they are all free!

Fashion City 13 Oct–14 April 2024. Tickets: £12 adults, £6 children, U12s free.


The Museum has issued the following Security Notice:

Following recent events in the Middle East, we are in close contact with our local police team and private security staff at Canary Wharf Group to discuss safety and security concerns around the museum’s Fashion City exhibition and its accompanying programme of events.

The safety of our guests, staff and partners remains of paramount importance and we will be seeking advice on any additional steps that need to be taken, whilst maintaining an active security presence on site.


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