Red cross do pop-up boutique like no other

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Designers such as Erdem, Stella McCartney, Giles Deacon and Ostwald Helgason, as well as famous faces such as Sienna Miller, have donated to the Red Cross’ pop-up initiative

The British Red Cross is launching a fashion pop-up boutique in London’s Covent Garden to celebrate 100 years of pop up charity shops, from Friday 7 November for 10 days.

 Many across the UK will undoubtedly be familiar with the huge commitment made by Red Cross volunteers during the First World War. Between 1914 -18 90,000 volunteers gave their time and skills to help the sick and wounded; doing everything from nursing and air raid duty to searching for missing people and transporting the wounded.

Less well known, however, is the fact that the First World War also saw the widespread growth of fundraising for the Red Cross with its first charity shops popping up across London and offering a variety of luxury and unusual pieces. Known as ‘Gift Houses’, these pop-ups were a treasure trove of items that ranged from the exclusive to the bizarre as donations  of Egyptian tapestries, paintings, silver and gold  were sold alongside Great Danes, a Persian kitten and a pair of Pointers.

Even her Majesty the Queen presented her own War Saving Certificate of thirty-one sixpenny stamps which fetched 50 guineas, alongside an Eastern Embroidery and a Mother of Pearl pendant. To help raise funds Queen Mary also bought a beautiful 18th century Chinese embroidery used as a wedding canopy in Spain and an 18th century French fan.

The Covent Garden pop-up will offer a range of fashion pieces donated by designer and premium high-street brands such as Erdem, Giles Deacon, Phillip Treacy, Ostwald Helgason, Russell and Bromley and Boden. Reputable home-ware retailers including Heal’s and Thorody have also donated to the boutique, as well as accessory offerings from Stella McCartney, Ancient Greek Sandals, and Loake shoes. The pop-up will host exclusive pieces, from handbags, coats, jewellery and wool accessories, to stationery, cushions, clocks and candlesticks. Sienna Miller is also opening up her wardrobe to donate pieces to the cause. Prices will start from £10.

The launch of The Gift House is part of a nationwide initiative to drive stock to its 330 charity shops nationwide in the run up to Christmas.

Paul Thompson, head of retail at the British Red Cross says: “This is a very special campaign not only celebrating 100 years of Red Cross Shops but also commemorating the extraordinary commitment and sacrifice of our volunteers during the First World War. We are extremely grateful for the generous donations we have received from a variety of high-profile designers and home-ware brands, just as we were for the donations we received 100 years ago, and I really hope that people across the UK will get behind the stock drive campaign and donate to their local Red Cross shops”.




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