Joanna Lumley: A hand-me-down sounds awful, but call it vintage and it's rather chic don't you think?

Absolutely Fabulous star talks the importance of vintage fashion at M&S pop up shwop shop event

Joanna Lumley has a habit of making everything that rolls off her tongue sound like butter, but she makes a jolly good point about vintage fashion.

The Absolutely Fabulous star, who picked up the Lifetime Achievement Award at last night's National Television Awards, is calling on British fashion-goers to ditch the stigma surrounding second-hand clothes.

Joanna Lumley is highlighting the importance of vintage fashion with the M&S pop up shwop shop ©Rex"My family has always loved things like junk shops; second hand shops and charity shops," she told us.


"We’ve always loved them; we don’t have a stigma at all about them. And I think Britain is beginning to come round.



"Sometimes I think it’s just the naming of it... if you called something a hand -me-down it sounds horrible, but if you called it vintage and retro it sounds rather chic, don't you think?"


The lovely Lumley was speaking to us as she launched Marks & Spencer's first ever pop-up Shwopping shop today, an initiative where shoppers can buy items from celebrities' wardrobes if they donate an old piece of clothing.

Joanna Lumley at the M&S pop up shwop shop in Marble Arch today ©RexThe likes of Daisy Lowe, Caroline Flack and Alexa Chung are just some of the names who've donated pieces, with a never-used neon-pink Cambridge Satchel, a cobalt-blue shift dress and a whole rail of cashmere among some of the treasure trove.

And while fashion-goers are rampantly scanning the rails for that stylish vintage find, they're also helping to tackle the serious issue of how many landfills we're filling in Britain with unwanted clothes - most of which could be reused and recycled.

"We've got some really lovely things," Joanna gushed about the pop-up. "Lots of them were lovely gifts from celebrities

which were fantastic and some were vintage things which Oxfam had said, 'hey this looks great let’s take it off our shelves and let it be sold.'

"It makes such an unbelievable difference as I'm lucky enough to have travelled to Africa and seen the difference a small amount of money can make. So it’s win win win!"


Even the Ab Fab star, who got behind the till to serve customers at one point, struggled not to buy it all.

She revealed: "I tried on Gary Barlow’s evening jacket – my he’s such a slim boy!

"Ah it was so sensational, I could have jolly well have gone up there and bought it myself! But a nice slim man ahead of me wanted it.

"And there was a darling little blue dress from Daisy Lowe which, alas, was too small for me.

"...There was a beautiful little Biba bag too, which got snapped up."

Joanna Lumley, Brix Smith-Start and Grace Woodward were on hand at the M&S shwop shop pop-up today ©RexFor anyone who is still hesitant about shopping in charity stores could well benefit from a visit to the M&S shwop pop-up, as Joanna describes the experience as like being inside a "gorgeous dressing up box" - and we'd have to agree.

"There were some darling things there and because they were all displayed side by side you had no idea whether you were looking at something from last year or 15 years ago," she said.

"Everything was higgeldy-piggeldy like a gorgeous dressing up box. And you end up thinking, blimey this is the only way to shop – then you realised you were in the middle of bl**dy Marks & Spencers in Marble Arch!"


The screen legend is hoping the initiative will really make a difference to the current climate of disposable fashion and that a garment can have a life after you've tired of it.

"I hope this little shop makes people realise that they should not throw stuff away," she said.

"People are getting more aware that the planet isn’t infinite. That we can't go on taking away from it before we wreck it completely.


"I think using retro clothes is amusing and charming and it’s the cool thing to do – all the movie stars are doing it!


"And it’s cheaper, so if you're on a budget it’s a great way of shopping. And if you make it a rule when you're out shopping to always donate something – take a bra for instance, there’s always a bra in your drawer that doesn’t fit or doesn’t work - take it to M&S shwop shop as bras are the premium pieces in Africa.

"We’re not allowed to sell them in our Oxfam shops or whatever here, but in Africa you are and they adore them. So ladies have a look in the drawer and shwop it!"

As she explains, it doesn't matter how worn or past it you may think it is. If it's missing buttons, full of holes or worn to threads - they want it.

"What they can do with your clothes – whether they're torn whether they're old, even if the jersey is worn out at the elbows, if it can be resold it can be reused and recycled," she explained. "It isn’t chucked into the ground, which is one of the great horrors of the planet – what we’re throwing away."

La Lumley is a regular vintage shopper herself too and told us she still owns a Nicole Farhi jacket she onec picked up for a fiver.

"I absolutely love charity shops and I regularly go to them," she says. "I did once get a beautiful, nifty, Nicole Farhi pin striped jacket – I’ve still got it.

"I only got it for five quid or something, I've still got it now. It’s fabulous. And you'll sometimes find designer items going for just a few pounds. You would never buy them in the shops for that.

"So I say keep your eyes open for bargains and don’t be afraid to be a bit daring as that’s how fashion comes. From making a style of our own.

"All of us would be thrilled to pick up a Vivienne Westwood jacket for £20, who wouldn’t, and so I think while you're doing your high street shopping for new clothes, why not keep an eye out for all the bargains you can find in charity shops."

She drives a good point, does the lovely Lumley.

The M&S pop-up shwop shop at the Marble Arch store is open today and tomorrow.

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