Charity shop opens inside Selfridges

Miranda July with shop workers Yasmin Wall, Diana Ngonyama, Latifa Rahman, Natasha Hodes and Abhayanandi [pic: Hugo Glendinning ©Artangel]

A charity shop has opened smack-bang in the middle of Selfridges in London, as both a participatory artwork and a fundraising campaign.

Artist, filmmaker and writer Miranda July and art body Artangel are behind the project, designed to 'present customers with an unexpected retail experience that will resonate with founder Harry Gordon Selfridge's famous pronouncement in 1909 that his store was created as an open house, where "everyone is welcome"'.

It's a standard charity shop, selling second-hand clothes, books, toys, bric-a-brac and the like, all at usual charity shop prices – a bit of a juxtaposition with some of Selfridges's wares.

Found on the third floor of the Oxford Street department store, it's also the UK's first interfaith charity shop. It is jointly run and staffed by four religious charities – Islamic Relief, Jewish charity Norwood, London Buddhist Centre and Spitalfields Crypt Trust – all of which are also donating 2.5 per cent of the proceeds they receive to another charity of their choice.

"For many years I've wanted to make a store as artwork; utilising the inherently participatory conventions of commerce," explains Miranda July, who chose the faith charities involved.

"When I first came to London, in my 20s, the sheer number of charity shops giddily amazed me, 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."

The Selfridges shop-within-a-shop will be open until October 22nd.

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