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Zandra Rhodes sells fashion museum

Zandra Rhodes has sold the Fashion & Textile Museum in Bermondsey Street to Newham College of Further Education which is to use the building as a skills academy.

Zandra Rhodes sells fashion museum
Martin Tolhurst, principal of Newham College; Sir
Martin Tolhurst, principal of Newham College; Sir Christopher Frayling, Arts Council; Zandra Rhodes; Wolff Heinrichsdorff, chairman, Montblanc Cultural Foundation

The museum, which opened in 2003, closed its doors to walk-in visitors last December, but its founder has never given up hope of reinvigorating the project.

Newham College has announced that it will be relaunching the FTM with immediate effect as an Academy for Fashion, Textiles and Jewellery Skills.

"I am absolutely delighted that our collaboration with Newham College has led to the college purchasing the museum," says Zandra Rhodes.

"The innovative educational work that we have developed together now has a secure future here at the Fashion and Textile Museum. I look forward to championing the many exciting initiatives that will form part of this work in the coming years".

The fashion designer will maintain her commercial salon in the distinctive landmark building and advise the college on the direction and development of the academy

The new owners plan to develop a programme of exhibitions and events in the building and the FTM will also form part of the academy..

The hope is to extend the museum's curatorial and research capacity and to accommodate an internationally renowned archive. As a first step towards this objective, Rhodes has donated her collection of original patterns to the college. The collection spans her whole career to date and includes countless examples of original patterns for famous and groundbreaking costumes.

The designer has also donated her EUR 15,000 prize money from the Montblanc de Culture Patronage award to the college.

"Zandra Rhodes is a perfect champion for skills development in Fashion, Textiles and Jewellery in London," says Newham College principal Martin Tolhurst.

"She is not only herself a product of the further education system but she has gone on to achieve the very highest accolades and levels of success. Her dedication to educational work through the FTM, which she established in 2002, has been exceptional.

"It is with great pride that we now take over this important work, and do so in partnership with Zandra. I have no doubt that by bringing our Centres of Vocational Excellence together with Zandra's skill and industry perspective, and the fantastic resources here at the FTM, we will help maintain and build London's leading role in these key sectors of our economy and cultural life."

Later this month artists' collective 4WALL will stage a show in the museum called Production Lines – including on 2 December a Bargain Bin Art Fair which will see works by politicians, famous artists and local residents put into a tombola and sold off for 99p a go.

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