Patsy Stone—or rather, Joanna Lumley, the actress who played her on Absolutely Fabulous—wants you to “shwop” till you drop. The British comedian teamed up with Marks & Spencer on Thursday to launch “Shwopping,” a new U.K.-wide clothing-recycling program that encourages shoppers to surrender an unwanted piece of clothing every time they buy a new one. To kick off the program, a portmanteau of “shop” and “swap,” the department store filled an entire street in East London’s fashionable Brick Lane district with nearly 10,000 garments, the same amount of clothing that winds up in the landfill every five minutes.


Regardless of brand, donated clothes will be resold, reused, or recycled through Oxfam, which will use the money raised to help people living in poverty. Marks & Spencer’s ultimate aim is to recycle as many clothes as it sells—350 million each year.

Lumley calls Shwopping a “big, bold campaign” and a first for the high street.

Thursday also marked the unveiling of Lumley as the new worldwide ambassador of Plan A, the retailer’s ongoing sustainability initiative. She calls Shwopping a “big, bold campaign” and a first for the high street.

“We’re asking people to open their hearts, their minds and their wardrobes,” she says in a statement. “Remember we used to just throw away plastic bottles. Now we recycle them without even thinking about it. We need to do the same with clothing. Bring in something old; buy something new. Swap and shop. It’s that simple.”

+ Shwopping

+ Marks & Spencer