Few can resist a rummage in a promising car boot sale, and when it contains the contents of some of London’s chicest wardrobes, with proceeds to an extremely good cause, a visit becomes imperative. And so to Brewer Street Car Park, in London’s Soho, on Saturday April 23, where from 1pm to 5pm there will be a festive atmosphere as it hosts the #SheInspiresMe sale to raise money for Women for Women International, which funds projects to help women disadvantaged by war and other circumstances in a number of countries.
Some fashion luminaries will open their own cars’ beautifully designed boots while some brands are decorating a parking space, all holding a selection from their own and their friends’ wardrobes and, in the case of several designers, end-of-season new stock. The owners will be on hand to explain and encourage – successful fashion entrepreneurs like Alice Temperley and Charlotte Olympia Dellal certainly know how to sell.
The sale idea came about when the charity’s executive director, Brita Fernandez Schmidt, and several friends in the fashion business were looking for a fresh way to fundraise. “We didn’t want yet another charity gala,” she says. “We were looking for something more democratic that could be fun for a large number of people and raise good money for our current causes, which include women displaced and traumatised by the war in Syria. We have a project in northern Iraq supplying safe spaces and psychosocial counselling for refugees, especially the Yazidi women, some of whom have escaped being Isil sex slaves. We are training some to run their own small businesses in the camps. The work is very serious but we wanted to fundraise in a lighthearted way.”
The plan evolved over a brainstormlng breakfast with model and fundraiser Laura Bailey, store owner Alex Eagle and PR Zoe Kuipers. “We spread the word to friends and they were really up for it,” says Eagle. Other stylish women among the 24 taking spaces include Bay Garnett, Saffron Aldridge and Hikari Yokoyama. “We’re all decorating our cars or spaces in our own way, making it personal,” says Eagle. “We want this to be for everyone and it’s not just designer clothes in model sizes. Some are pre-worn, some are brand new, and there are some very exciting top-end items, but most of the clothes are under £400 and many accessories are far less – £10-£1,000 should cover it.” Examples include a handprinted Prada coat (£400, third picture), a New & Lingwood for Alex Eagle velvet smoking jacket (£300, second picture) and end-of-season LK Bennett pieces, from £70 (such as the suede block heel Fianna ankle boot, first picture).
“The great thing is that it has cost us nothing,” says Eagle. “It’s the current British Fashion Council show space but it’s free to us, so everything goes to the charity.” To add to the fun, and funds, filmmaker Quentin Jones will oversee a children’s play area with crafts and face-painting (she has also designed a tote bag for shoppers to carry away their goodies), and Soho House’s Store Kitchen is providing pop-up healthy-food stalls. There will also be a bar and live music, and entry is £10 on the door. “We’re asking our friends to bring suitcases of extra clothes to replenish our stocks through the day,” says Schmidt. “We hope it will be like a mini-festival, with a worthwhile purpose at heart.”