By STEPHANIE HIRSCHMILLER
Top Shwopper: Joanna Lumley launches M&S' new recycling initiative in East London's Brick Lane
It was an absolutely fabulous morning in Brick Lane.
Marks & Spencer joined forces with Joanna Lumley to launch Shwopping, its new permanent nationwide sustainable fashion and clothes recycling initiative.
M&S filled an entire street in East London’s Brick Lane fashion district with the equivalent amount of clothing that we throw into landfill every five minutes – almost 10,000 items.
Joanna Lumley is not only the face of the campaign but also the retailer’s first ever global eco and ethical ambassador for its ethical initiative, Plan A.
'I’m really excited to be working with M&S and have long admired Plan A,' enthused Lumley. '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.'
Brolly Dolly: Joanna Lumley poses with M&S CEO Marc Bolland sporting an umbrella made of recycled clothing
'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.'
The campaign is aimed to kick start a ‘buy one, give one’ culture on the UK high street and stop one billion garments being thrown into UK landfill each year – a colossal one in four items that are actually sold.
All M&S customers will now be able to hand in any old or unwanted item of clothing - of any brand. The items will then be reused, resold or recycled through campaign partner Oxfam.
Shwop til you drop: We're sure Joanna Lumley's alter ego, Ab Fab's Patsy would agree
The money raised will go to help people living in poverty. M&S pledges that not a single item will go to landfill and the ultimate aim for the retailer is to recycle as many clothes as it sells – 350 million items a year.
Says M&S CEO Marc Bolland: '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.'