The second annual Oxfam Curiosity Shop will be open in Selfridges until 10th April. Brain child of Annie Lennox and ‘The Circle’ project, the pop-up shop offers a range of vintage clothes, hand-picked from Oxfam’s Wastesaver clothes recycling warehouse, as well as any prized designer samples and beautiful pieces donated from celebrities, including Colin and Livia Firth, Brix Smith, Dido and Scarlett Johanssen.

The Curiosity Shop was inspired by jumble sales and clothes swaps held by Annie Lennox and friends to raise money for charity. This idea was taken up in conjunction with Oxfam and Selfridges, and the Pop-Up store was created raising over £250,000 in 2010. Each year the Curiosity Shop has an auction on opening night where attendees can bid for the most high profile items. This year, items included the world’s first jewellery made from ethical Fairtrade gold, designed by British goldsmith Anna Loucah and worn by Livia Firth at the recent Oscars Ceremony, which went for £25,000 and songs performed live by Annie Lennox to the request of the audience which went for £15,000 each. The twelve lots bid for managed to raise over £215, 000 on the launch night.

This year there are also 24 items which can be bid for on the Oxfam website. With the bidding starting at £10 and items including Jude Law’s Oscar’s Tuxedo and a sequinned floor length dress owned by Kate Moss, it is clear that the lucky winners will be privy to a piece of sartorial history. Of course there are also some beautiful pieces still available in the Pop-Up shop, including homewares, vinyls and books and further fashion. Livia Firth has donated all her outfits from the ‘Green Carpet’ challenge including a gorgeous butter yellow one-shouldered re-purposed wool blouse by Karen Caldwell. Scarlett Johanssen donated the most expensive item, a silk floral mini-dress by Dolce & Gabbanna for sale at slightly over £800, with Colin Firth’s well loved aviator jacket coming in a close second. The Pop-Up shop not only allows shoppers to see and feel their icons clothes but also offers the chance to own a piece of cultural history.

Also available for purchase are a bomber jacket worn by Helen Mirren in the 1984 film ‘2010: The Year We Made Contact’ and trainers used by James Cracknell to run the Marathon de Sable last year in which he finished 12th making him the highest placed Briton in 25 years – both pieces are undeniably priceless to an avid fan. It is worth making the trip to Selfridges just to see these items, even if you can’t afford to buy them, but luckily there are also some amazing finds to suit every pocket among the rails of hand sourced vintage wear.

Among out favourites were a 1930’s sky blue chiffon dress, an electric blue blouse with Peter Pan collar and pussy bow necktie and a funky quilted floral print cotton bomber from the 1990s. With none of these items costing more than £35 and with 100% of the proceeds going to Oxfam Circle projects, providing healthcare, schooling and much more to women living in poverty, how could you refuse?

Zoe Dickens
Images Courtesy of Oxfam: Vintage Chanel Suit, Oxfam Vintage beaded grey dress, Henrietta Ludgate one-off white wool cashmere dress worn by Livia Firth at London Film Critic’s Award 2011, Nina Skarra dress worn by Livia Firth at the BAFTA 2011

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