Joanna Lumley joins M&S to launch Shwopping
Marks & Spencer (M&S) joins forces with Joanna Lumley to launch Shwopping – a new initiative that will revolutionise clothes shopping and help consumers to live more sustainable lifestyles.
M&S believes unwanted clothes should have a future: they should be put to good use, not just thrown out. It is therefore asking its customers to shwop – give an unwanted piece of clothing every time they buy a new one.
All M&S clothing stores will now accept unwanted clothing of any brand, all year round. It's a new, free service for customers aimed at creating a new ‘buy one, give one' culture on the UK high street.
Through Oxfam, the clothes will be resold, reused or recycled and the money raised will go to help people living in poverty. Not a single item will go to landfill and the ultimate aim for M&S is to recycle as many clothes as it sells – 350 million a year.
The initiative also marks the unveiling of Joanna Lumley as the new worldwide ambassador of Plan A – the eco and ethical programme which aims to make M&S the world's most sustainable major retailer.
Joanna will front the Shwopping campaign and she joined M&S CEO Marc Bolland and Oxfam CEO Barbara Stocking today at a street covered in unwanted clothes in East London created to highlight the problem of clothes going to landfill. Almost 10,000 (the number of clothes used to cover the street) items of clothing go to landfill every five minutes. One billion items of clothing a year are sent to landfill, one in four items sold.
Marc Bolland said: “We're leading a change in the way we all shop for clothing, forever. This is the right, responsible move for the UK's biggest clothing retailer and the ultimate goal is simple – to put a complete stop to clothes ending up in landfill.
“We want to get back one garment for every one we sell. For us that's 350 million a year. It is a big number, but with our customers' help, we will do it.”
Joanna Lumley said: “I'm really excited to be working with M&S and have long admired Plan A. Their latest initiative, Shwopping, is all about getting customers to recycle unwanted clothes every time they shop at M&S. It's a big, bold campaign and a first for the high street.
“We're asking people to open their hearts, their minds and their wardrobes. Remember we used to just throw away plastic bottles. Now we recycle them without even thinking about it. We need to do the same with clothing. Bring in something old; buy something new. Swap and shop. It's that simple.”
Barbara Stocking, Oxfam Chief Executive added: “For Oxfam, Shwopping will ultimately mean helping us change the lives of some of the world's poorest people. Unwanted clothing donated to us by the British public raises millions of pounds every year to help fund our life-saving work, so it's vital for us to keep those donations coming in. This campaign brings a really fresh approach to that challenge, and the potential offered by reaching out directly to M&S customers is very exciting.”
M&S will launch a TV, print and online marketing campaign to support Shwopping. This includes a specially created facebook app – facebook.com/marksandspencer – which will allow customers to socialise shwopping. Shwoppers will be able to share experiences, see how many clothes are being shwopped at their local store and advise other shwoppers on which items in their wardrobes to shwop or not.
The launch coincides with the opening of the ‘Shwop Lab' in collaboration with London College of Fashion's Centre For Sustainable Fashion. The pop-up space, open untill 9th May at the Old Truman Brewery, will explore the future of fashion through a series of collaborations with the UK's leading lights in sustainable fashion and design.
Shwopping has launches in all M&S stores (except Simply Food stores) and online at marksandspencer.com/shwopping.