Happy Birthday Marks & Sparks! The iconic British high street chain Marks & Spencer is celebrating its 125th birthday this year. To mark the occasion, M&S have revisited their archives and have relaunched some of their vintage designs. Marks & Spencer started as a penny market stall in Leeds founded by Michael Marks in 1884. Partnering with Tom Spencer in 1894 led to rapidly increasing the already growing chain of Penny Bazaar stores. Button guards, hair wavers and sheet music were all products that differentiated M&S from other stores in the beginning. Due to competition from stores such as Woolworths selling similar products, the shop had to change and decided to concentrate on food and clothes, which was a new product line to meet the demand for affordable good quality clothing. Looking back over the last 125 years, M&S have played their part in some ‘interesting’ fashion fads but have also been leaders in fashion design innovation. They invented tights when miniskirts came in because the hems on stockings were too low, made the first machine washable suit and have schoolwear products made out of recycled plastic bottles. They were the first retailer to use sell by dates, sell fresh chicken, avocados and pineapples as well as invinting the chicken kiev, ready meals and perfecting the melted chocolate pudding. One Response Angel Cutsforth May 19th, 2009 Does anyone know what material that tea dress is? It looks like jersey, but if it is, why does it look like it has a zip up the back?