What role do you play for the Oxfam Curiosity Shop?
I am one of the co-managers of the Oxfam Pop Up Shop for the second year running.
What was the show like last year?
Last year the show was very much about Annie Lennox and her friends. There was an auction similarly, where celebrities donated items of clothing pretty much like this year. This year Ruby Wax hosted the auction, which I think definitely led to greater success and triumph over last year’s donations. She is just so funny and powerful. The design of the shop is a little bit different; although we had plenty of lovely clothes last year, we also had more objects and now there are fewer of those. It is far more fashion centric this time. We have styling events happening every day so it is much more about that.
There’s a bit of a buzz going on over there, looks exciting…
Yes! We have The Guardian styling and producing a shoot. We have Brix Smith coming in later on in the week and various others. Wednesday (6th April) is going to be an Oxfam day, which I will be styling with some others so that should be fun!
Can you tell us a bit about how the clothes are sourced?
Of course, we have some fabulous celebrity fashion donations but we also have a range of items that people have gradually donated. Some of the pieces come from our recycling warehouse that opened in the 1970s. There we have a collection of pieces that have come from the shops. They send clothes out to festivals and vintage stores so we receive plenty of items that are really retro, wacky or very vintage. There is a whole team of people there that pick out the items from a fantastic conveyor belt, it’s a fashion lovers dream!
Where did the idea for the Oxfam Curiosity shop originate?
It started with Annie Lennox and her friends having a jumble sale in a car park, allegedly, like a clothes swap. I think there was someone from Oxfam who had a chat from someone from Selfridges, so various people started talking and then it kind of all came together.
What kind of impact does the celebrity influence have?
Well it is clear that many of us have a real interest in celebrity fashion, but Annie Lennox has a particularly strong following so people will travel a long way to come and see what is on offer. Especially this black coat for example, it is an extremely iconic Annie Lennox piece and draws plenty of attention.
It’s great Annie Lennox has donated pieces that are so recent?
Yes exactly, it is really nice. Livia Firth has donated some amazing things. We have the dress she wore for the Green Carpet Challenge designed by Nina Skarra. I love this piece here by Karen Caldwell. She also designs the Mad Men costumes and made this for Livia.
I love the jacket just to your left!
Oh yes, this piece was donated by Jane Shepherdson (CEO of Whistles). We have some great pieces from Dido, Brix Smith, Matt Lucas, James Cracknell, the list goes on.
I notice a few of the clothes have chips and barcodes attached?
Yes, impressive technology. If you scan the chips or barcodes you can discover the story behind the piece.
Is the storytelling concept new for this year?
Yes it is because we wanted to have something new to offer so this year we’re very interactive. Being able to hear the story is great – it really highlights their value.
All proceeds are going to Oxfam women’s projects.
Images Courtesy of Oxfam