It’s one of fashion’s best kept secrets, a website where you can buy luxury brands such as Burberry, Prada and Miu Miu as well as the best of the high street for a steal.
Sales were up 33% at Christmas as shoppers bagged vintage and designer clothes for the party season but the company is not listed on the stock exchange like the web giant Asos and there is no chance of it ever being taken over. And if you look closely some of the clothes might seem familiar.
In fact they might actually be your clothes – because Oxfam has emerged as an unlikely rising star of the UK’s fast-growing online fashion scene as it casts an increasingly canny eye over the branded cast-offs and vintage styles dumped in bin bags on its shops’ doorsteps every day.
“It is a big secret but when people hear about our website they are really intrigued,” says Oxfam trading director Andrew Horton who wants to double the size of the web operation to reach 10% of retail sales over the next three years.
The website is run out of a cavernous warehouse in Batley, West Yorkshire. The building is home to Wastesaver, the charity’s sorting and recycling centre, where every week 50 paid staff sift though 80 tonnes of clothing delivered to its door.