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Rare tie discovered in charity shop goes on display in London fashion exhibition

A rare Mr Fish kipper tie discovered in a charity shop has gone on display at the Museum of London Docklands as part of its latest exhibition Fashion City: How Jewish Londoners shaped global style (until April 2024).

Designed by the leading menswear designer Michael Fish, the tie was bought for 99p by 65-year-old charity shop enthusiast Janneke van der Wal who found it in an Age UK shop in Southampton. Attracted by its design and colour, she had no idea of its cultural significance but after googling the designer when she got home, decided to contact the Museum of London to donate it to their collection.

I'm not in the habit of buying ties at all, but I saw it out of the corner of my eye and there was just something about it: the vibrant colours and the width. It reminded me of the Seventies,” said Janneke. “I had absolutely no use for it, but thought perhaps it would come in handy if there ever was a fancy dress party.”

“Once home, I noticed the Mr. Fish label, which sounded kinda zany, so decided to search the internet to see if I could find out a little more about it. I didn't get very far, but far enough to realise that maybe a museum might be interested in it. This is when I decided to contact the Museum of London.”

“I love charity shops- if you do find something to wear, then it's a win win situation: the charity shop gets a little money, you get something "new" to wear and the item has not gone to landfill. It just goes to show, you never know what you might find- I'm thrilled to see the tie is now part of this fantastic exhibition!”

This type of tie, with its exaggerated wide shape, became known as a ‘kipper tie’- a name created as a pun on the designer’s name, Michael Fish. The boundary-pushing menswear designer was a key figure of the 1960s-70s counterculture movement the ‘peacock revolution’ and would go on to launch his own business Mr Fish. Known for his bold use of colour and pattern, Fish revitalised staples of British menswear and played with innovative silhouettes for men. His designs were worn by notable celebrities including Mick Jagger, Muhammad Ali, Jimi Hendrix, and Michael Caine. He dressed Sean Connery for his first role as James Bond, and David Bowie famously wore a Mr Fish dress on the cover of his 1970 album The Man Who Sold the World.

The tie is one of a number of second-hand pieces featured in the exhibition including an Alexon coat bought from a charity shop for beloved EastEnders character Dot Cotton and a leopard-patterned hat by Otto Lucas, purchased from eBay. Lucas came to London in the 1930s and was known as one of the most successful milliners of all time, putting London on the map for millinery. His hats featured on the covers of Vogue and were worn by clients including Wallis Simpson and screen star Greta Garbo.

Dr Lucie Whitmore, curator of Fashion City said: “Objects come to the museum through many different avenues and we’re delighted to have these iconic pieces of London fashion in our collection and on display in the exhibition.

Like so many items in Fashion City, these pieces were designed to last and have been treasured by their owners, passed down through families, or worn and resold. It is all part of the fabric of their history.

Given the strong connection between Jewish makers and second-hand fashions, there is a wonderful symmetry to them finding a home at the museum this way.”

From East End tailors to the couture salons of the West End, Fashion City tells the story of Jewish designers, makers and retailers who made London an iconic fashion city. Those responsible for some of the most recognisable looks of the 20th century, who became leading figures in their industries, and founded retail chains still present on the high street today. Stories in the exhibition range from Moss Bros, whose founders started life as second-hand clothes dealers, to beloved wedding dress designer Netty Spiegel who arrived in London on the Kindertransport, and couturier David Sassoon who dressed Princess Diana on more than 70 occasions.

Next month, a special late night opening will allow visitors to explore the exhibition after hours with a range of special talks and guided tours. It will include a session with the University of Surrey’s Dr Danielle Dove who will explore the 19th-century second-hand clothing trade, the history of Jewish old clothes dealers and how these compare with the contemporary issues of sustainability and ethical consumption today. The Fashion City Late is part of British Fashion Council’s City Wide Celebration of 40 years of London Fashion Week.

Fashion City late: From Petticoat Lane to Savile Row will run 7-10pm, Thursday 15th February 2024. Tickets from £12 concession available here.

Fashion City: How Jewish Londoners shaped global style is on until 14th April 2024. Tickets from £13 available here.

Notes to Editors

For more press information please contact Mariam Hussein, Media Officer at the Museum of London on [email protected] / 07713 565805 or Ashton Bainbridge, PR Manager on [email protected] / 07967 313176.

Fashion City late: From Petticoat Lane to Savile Row

Thursday 15th February 2024, Museum of London Docklands, 7-10pm, Tickets from £13

From Whitechapel to Oxford Street, the contribution of Jewish designers in making London an iconic fashion city cannot be underestimated. Join us to celebrate quintessential London style in an electrifying night inspired by our Fashion City exhibition.

Enjoy music, talks and workshops that immerse you in everything from colourful East End fashion to the glitz and glamour of Carnaby Street. Don’t be afraid to wear your finest and show what really makes the city a fashion capital!


Ground floor (food and drink available 7-10pm)

Performance | 7.45 – 8.30pm; 9 – 9.45pm

Grab a drink and join Jewish performance collective ‘Homos and Houmous’ for an evening of drag, trivia and games as they bring 1920s cabaret to the East End. Think Shabbat dinner argument meets Bette Midler doing musical stand-up in a New York bathhouse.

Exhibition tours | 7.15pm; 8.15pm

Join one of our hosts for an introductory tour of our Fashion City exhibition, highlighting the major contribution of Jewish designers in making London an iconic fashion city.

Headwear making workshop | 7 – 9.30pm

Drop in to our creative hub and make your own outfit-elevating headwear with award-winning milliner, Sahar Freemantle.

Club MiniJupe | 7pm – 9.45pm

Dance along to the 60s pop and psychedelia sounds of DJ Leenda Karina.

3rd floor

‘Second-hand trade in 19th Century London’ pop-up talk | 7.30 – 8pm

Learn about the history of the second-hand clothing trade, Jewish old clothes dealers and their connections to contemporary sustainability issues and ethical consumption today with Danielle Dove.

Maytime in Mayfair film screening | 8 – 9.45pm

A 1949 classic telling the story of an impoverished man who becomes heir to a glamorous West End fashion house. With an introduction from Beatrice Behlen, Senior Curator of Fashion and Decorative Arts.

‘M&S: Foundations of a fashion city’ pop-up talk | 8 – 8.30pm

Get intimate with fashion history and explore the unique role of M&S and other Jewish designers in developing new styles of underwear in the 20th Century in this talk with Lorraine Topper.

‘From the Islands to the City’ pop-up talk | 8.30 – 9pm

Discover stories about new life in London and multigenerational love of fashion with Rianna Norbert-David, building on histories of the East End fashion trades and the work and lives of Windrush generation tailors.

About Museum of London Docklands

The Museum of London Docklands is located at West India Quay in east London. Opened in 2003, it occupies one of the few remaining original grade one listed warehouses, built in 1802 to store produce from the West Indies.

A shared place in the heart of the East End, where stories cross and collide, it confidently shows how international trade, migration, enslavement and the river Thames were integral to shaping London and the world we live in today.

The museum is open 7 days a week, from 10am-5pm and is FREE to all. You can explore the Museum of London with collections online – home to 90,000 objects with more being added regularly.