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Joanna Lumley launches Marks & Spencer ‘swap and shop’ campaign in Brick Lane

PUBLISHED: 17:17 26 April 2012

Thursday April 26 2012. Joanna Lumley OBE at the launch of 'shwopping'. Using 5 minutes worth of UK clothing waste - 9513 pieces - M&S transformed Brick Lane to show how it plans to give old clothes a future through its new fashion initiative. Joanna is the new global ambassador for Plan A. Photo: Michael Bowles

Thursday April 26 2012. Joanna Lumley OBE at the launch of 'shwopping'. Using 5 minutes worth of UK clothing waste - 9513 pieces - M&S transformed Brick Lane to show how it plans to give old clothes a future through its new fashion initiative. Joanna is the new global ambassador for Plan A. Photo: Michael Bowles

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Actress Joanna Lumley is fronting a new Marks & Spencer campaign in the East End aimed at getting people to recycle old clothes instead of throwing them away.

The Absolutely Fabulous star has joined forces with the retail giant to launch Shwopping, an initiative she hopes will revolutionise clothes shopping and help consumers to live more sustainable lifestyles, at Brick Lane’s Old Truman Brewery today (Thursday).

M&S is asking its customers to hand over an unwanted piece of clothing every time they buy a new one from its stores and outlets will now accept unwanted clothing of any brand.

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.

Ms Lumley said: “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.”

The launch coincides with the opening of the Shwop Lab at the Old Truman Brewery in collaboration with London College of Fashion’s Centre For Sustainable Fashion.

The pop-up space, open until 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.

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