Located in London’s trendy Bermondsey Village, and founded by the cutting-edge fashion designer Zandra Rhodes, the Fashion and Textile Museum is a must-visit for anyone with an interest in fashion, clothes and jewellery.
Housed in a funky, bright-orange building, the museum puts on a range of stylish and fun exhibitions that change every few months. Most of the themes and exhibits span several decades, which gives them a broad appeal, making this a great place for teenagers or pre-teens to visit with their parents or grandparents (“Grandma, did you really wear those things?”). Previous exhibitions have ranged from “Off the peg style in the 1940s and 50s” and “Undercover: the Evolution of Underwear” to “Designing Women: The art of textile design in Postwar Britain” and “POP! Culture and Fashion 1955–1976”, while autumn 2014 saw the arrival of “Knitwear: Chanel to Westwood”. The museum also hosts a number of popular courses and workshops for adults and teenagers.
Access is easier than you might expect, given FTM’s central London location. There’s one dedicated disabled parking space about a hundred yards away, on Bermondsey Street, but with a Blue Badge you can park on a single yellow line, which means you’re likely to find a space pretty close to the museum. The main, ramped entrance is surrounded by a small area of cobblestones, but once inside, access is good. There’s a low-level ticket counter and all exhibit labels are available in a large-print format booklet for visually impaired visitors. FTM is a small museum and quite manageable for people with walking difficulties or those who tire easily; you can explore the whole space in an hour or two. The museum is split level, with staff on hand to assist anyone who needs to use the lift.
Food & drink: The on-site Teapod Café@FTM serves a vast selection of homemade cakes, sweet and savoury high teas and lunch snacks such as bagels, soups, baked potatoes and stews. It also sells a range of high-quality loose leaf teas. It’s often full of local fashion students in eclectic outfits bearing armfuls of fashion magazines and sketchbooks. The chairs and tables are moveable and, although the service counter is high, staff will bring food to your table.