In 2017 we’re supposed to be weary of where our clothes come from. We’ve all seen the documentaries and shared the petitions; you don’t have to be most politically aware person to know the cost of fast fashion. Yet, people are shopping on the high-street more than ever before, and disregarding old clothing like rotting fruit. New studies have shown that on average, 30% of our clothing goes unworn over the course of a year, with an even larger percentage ending up in landfills.
“As a population we need to start paying more attention to the fact that we all wear clothes, but where do they come from and who made them?” posits Gemma Cairney, Radio 1 DJ and founder of London’s premiere celeb jumble sale, Rumble in the Jumble.
Occurring annually in London, Rumble in the Jumble is the UK’s biggest celebrity jumble sale. Combining pre-loved clothing and charity fundraising, the event aims to turn the wardrobes of the music and fashion elite into cash, which, this year, will be donated to the refugee appeal in the Mediterranean.
Started seven years ago, it’s conception was a result of Cairney, alongside Caroline Flack and Dawn O’Porter, visiting the Oxfam initiative event ‘The Get Together’. The idea came to Cairney and co. after reportedly consuming “lots and lots of wine”, and being moved by “learning about Oxfam’s work”. “[We] decided to troubleshoot and brainstorm of ways we could do this ourselves. We were like “let’s just get loads of our mates’ stuff and sell it for money!”, says Cairney.
What started as three women “selling their mates’ stuff” has turned into a fully-fledged movement, where every year’s Jumble is jam-packed. Only upon getting closer to the ever-growing snaking queue of people outside of Hackney’s Oval Space last Saturday was it clear that the queue wasn’t to meet Drake, but instead for this year’s Rumble in the Jumble. As soon as the clock struck midday, the klaxons were sounded and everyone manning stalls inside of the venue went into a hyper-organised frenzy; soon-after the shoppers entered in haste, eager to rummage through each stall for that once-in-a-lifetime bargain.
“God, this is crazy!” said Rosalind Jana, a fashion and lifestyle blogger from London who was kind enough to let Notion sit in on her stall. Jana, among many others, was invited by Gemma Cairney to donate her vintage, and admittedly very chic, wardrobe in aid of the refugee appeal.
Alongside Jana, some massive names have donated to Jumble this year. This year’s lineup included garments from Kate Moss, Florence Welch, Mark Ronson, Yannis from Foals, One Direction, and Mel C of Spice Girls. It’s undeniable that the celebrity factor draws in a large percentage of Rumble shoppers. People have descended from all over London, and indeed, the country, to get their hands on some unique garms worn by their stylish faves.
Though this year’s donations where undoubtedly A-List, Rumble in the Jumble has had some legendary donors in the past. “My friend bought Elton John’s baby blue Versace suit at Rumble one year. I’m so jealous!” enthuses Cairney. “We’ve also had donations from Annie Lennox, Kate Moss, Mark Ronson, Alexa Chung, and Jimmy Carr – basically anyone cool you can think of, they’ve donated!”.
“For me, it’s not really about setting targets or obsessing over how much we make, as every little bit really does help, and we want to make this a fun experience, you know?” she goes on. It’s hard to disagree with her – utilising her platform in such a fun and high-spirited way really makes donating to charity accessible to the modern shopper, while also eliminating landfill pile up. Though deciding how to distribute the money raised isn’t as simple as you might think. “To be honest, it’s always absolutely appalling having to decide which sector of Oxfam we are going to decide to raise for” she says. “I was compelled to do what we did this year for the refugee campaign as we were actually going to rest Rumble in the Jumble this year. However, I felt compelled to resurrect it when I was buying Christmas presents last year [whilst] seeing footage of people fleeing Aleppo, and my heart was broken. I thought there is no way I couldn’t resurrect the Jumble sale which makes so much money, in such a fun way, for people who are living in hell”.
The refugee appeal is just one of many causes Rumble has aided. Repeatedly working alongside Oxfam, Rumble in the Jumble aims to turn one man’s (or celeb’s) trash into another man’s treasure, making fashion less disposable for the purpose of charity donations. It’s no secret that the fashion world bares some responsibility when it comes to suffering around the world, however uncomfortable that truth may be, but Cairney seemed optimistic about the impact events like Rumble were having. “I feel like we’re all gradually getting a bit more street-smart, aren’t we? Everyone that loves shopping and commodity has started to question why shopping makes them feel bad, and how it’s hurting the planet. Which is great!”
That hope isn’t necessarily misplaced either. Rumble took £33,000 last year, which all went towards aiding gender equality in Myanmar. It’s not yet known how much this year’s event made, but it’s expected to be ever more. As a plus all the remaining stock from Rumble in the Jumble also gets donated to Oxfam after the sale to be redistributed in Oxfam’s shop throughout the country, ensuring that nary a sock goes to waste. So what are you waiting for? Get yourself to your local Oxfam and see if you can find a celebrity bargain all of your own.