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Fashion Do-Gooders: Bicester Village teams up with Women for Women and Smart Works

 (ES)
(ES)

Secondhand September is upon us, but if the thought of rummaging through endless rails of discarded Shein in your local charity shop depresses you may I present Bicester Village’s “Do Good” pop-up store.

Running from September 6 - October 4, and featuring racks of pre-loved, vintage and some new pieces sourced via a huge scope of brands from LK Bennett to Loewe, the store promises to be a treasure trove for the fashionably and charitably minded. What a relief.

Neatly, the pop-up marks the anniversaries of two female-focused charities, Women for Women International, which is marking 30 years, and Smart Works, of which Meghan, Duchess of Sussex is patron, celebrates ten years.

The  Do Good pop-up opens it’s doors at Bicester Village (Do Good pop up Bicester Village)
The Do Good pop-up opens it’s doors at Bicester Village (Do Good pop up Bicester Village)

For the first half of the month the pop-up will support Women for Women, the charity founded by American-Iraqi Zainab Salbi in 1993 to directly support women in conflict zones, which has since reached over half a million women across 17 conflict-affected countries. It has skillfully married up with connected names in the fashion world to create stylish buzz resulting in buoyant donations. Most notable is the yearly Soho “car boot” sale, which has raised over £1.2 million since 2016 (the most glamorous Brewer Street car park has ever looked), where influencers and Vogue editors sell off their luxury wares to fund raise. The Do Good pop-up will benefit from these connections too, pieces from Chanel, Mulberry, Christian Louboutin and Loewe have been sourced from stealth wardrobes, to sit alongside items from Roksanda, Charlotte Olympia, All Saints, Frame, Jenny Packham and Kate Spade among many more.

Roksanda Ilinčić is amongst those who have donated to the pop-up (Dave Benett)
Roksanda Ilinčić is amongst those who have donated to the pop-up (Dave Benett)

Sara Bowcutt, co-managing director of Women to Women highlights the synergy between the fundraising effort and recipients of that help, “Fashion can empower and boost confidence, and we see the important role of confidence in women’s lives mirrored in the impact of the Women for Women International programme. A vital component of the Women for Women International programme is building the confidence of women who have suffered the unimaginable – bereavement, torture, sexual violence. Their basic rights, freedom and identities as women are stolen and used as a weapon of war. Yet when given the tools, resources and knowledge to access livelihoods and protect their rights, women can transform their families, communities – and ultimately their nations.”

In store at the Do Good pop-up (Bicester Village)
In store at the Do Good pop-up (Bicester Village)

The second half of the month will be no less starry in terms of fashion or philanthropic kudos, with 100% of funds going directly to Smart Works, the women’s charity which helps (literally) outfit women getting back into work. Over ten years, it has dressed 32,000 women via its 11 centres around the country. Impressively, it can claim that 69% of women get a job within a month of their appointment, putting paid testimony to the confidence clothing can imbue. Kate Stephens, CEO, offers that “A slim leg trouser and blazer or a structured dress are always popular. But the key is that the piece makes her look in the mirror, drop her shoulders and think “maybe, maybe I can do this”. For that reason, the Smart Works wardrobe is a treasure chest of different styles, sizes and colours. We’ve given away over 200,000 of pieces over the last ten years, and every single one has been donated from an individual or brand, then steamed, sorted and hung so that it looks great for our clients. It is a labour of love.”

Among the brands secured for the Do Good Smart Works pop up are Aligne, jewellery brand Missoma, shoes from Dear Francis, plus Rixo, Lily and Lionel and Cefinn for your own autumn season sharpeners. Almost guilt-free shopping awaits.

Do Good, September 6 - October 4, Bicester Village, OX26