miranda july has opened a multi-faith charity shop in selfridges
The collaborative charity shop is a two-month Artangel commission, but you can really buy the clothes, accessories and knick knacks.
Miranda July inside the Interfaith Charity Shop on the third floor of Selfridges, London 31 August 2017
Perhaps one the biggest bargains in luxury shopping history was had this morning, when a shopper picked up a Valentino jacket for just £32 in Selfridges. There was no error on the price label, nor was it a freak mega-sale. The garment was stocked in a new charity shop by the multi-disciplinary artist Miranda July. The store brings together four real faith-based London charity shops: Norwood Jewish Charity Shop, London Buddhist Centre Charity Shop, Spitalfields Crypt Trust (a Christian organisation) Charity Shop, all in solidarity with the Islamic Relief Charity Shop. The staff at the Selfridges charity shop are staff members from the four original shops, and all the stock is also sourced from those shops.
"For many years I've wanted to make a store as artwork- utilising the inherently participatory conventions of commerce," Miranda July explained in a statement. "When I first came to London, in my twenties, I was giddily amazed by the sheer number of charity shops, but it's only in creating this store with Artangel that I understand what a radically unique economic model they are. The nuances of this come from my faith-based charity shop partners and from the site; Selfridges."
i-D caught up with Miranda at the opening this morning: "To participate in the luxury goods market, you kind of have to practice this suspension of disbelief," she explained, adding, "I've done projects with luxury brands before, so it's not like an assault on that, but I think there's a lot more to play with there. And obviously the brands themselves -- I mean we're right next to Vetements -- it's not like there's blinders on, it's a very porous interplay. The big difference here is that these things are all really cheap; they all maintain their integrity as charity shop items."
It's true. There are rails of garments that are just a few pounds each: a brightly patterned knit jumper for £8 that you could easily imagine a character in Miranda's feature film Me and You and Everyone We Know wearing; there's a pink leopard print headscarf for £5; and a childrens blue princess dress also for £5. As in real charity shops, there are a few designer pieces among the high street wares: a pair of Christian Dior jeans with buckles across the shins for £9; that (now sold) £32 Valentino jacket; and the most expensive item in the store, a green check tweed Holland and Holland suit for £55.
As for the interfaith nature of the store, Miranda told i-D, "When I was first in LA, googling charity shops, it really stuck out to me [that in the UK] they're not all Christian, like in the US; and therefore the idea of charity is not just linked to Christianity. And then the Islamic Relief one, we just wouldn't have that, first of all because the population isn't there supporting it, but also because the [level of] Islamophobia is so great."
"It's interfaith, but it's also these three faiths in solidarity with this other one [Islamic Relief]... that was at the core of the idea," she adds. "The interfaith thing is interesting to me, but it's also interesting how the faiths can support each other in times of need. And this certainly is a time of need."
Michael Morris and James Lingwood, Co-Directors of Artangel, comment in a statement, "Artists continually lead Artangel into uncharted territory so we are delighted to be collaborating with Miranda July in joining forces with four faith-based charities on the third floor of Selfridges. Our shop within a shop, like London itself, is proudly open to the world."
The multi-faith charity shop is open to the public on the 3rd floor of Selfridges until 22 October.
Artangel & Miranda July present Norwood Jewish Charity Shop, London Buddhist Centre Charity Shop & Spitalfields Crypt Trust Charity Shop in solidarity with Islamic Relief Charity Shop at Selfridges (2017). An Artangel commission. Photograph: Stuart C. Wilson/Stuart Wilson/Getty Images