Style check: cast-offs of the rich and famous auctioned online for charity
Had your eye on that Burberry Prorsum leopard print top worn by One Direction's Harry Styles a few weeks ago? It might make the perfect Christmas present "for your niece". Or maybe you fancy one of Kate Moss' old frocks? Well, now they're attainable, if you're willing to pay - with proceeds going to Unicef.
While in London last week, I met the founders of Hardly Ever Worn It hardlyeverwornit.com a British start-up with an impressive circle of industry (spouses Philip and Tina Green) and celebrity connections (Sienna Miller, David Beckham and Moss).
The glamorous Sharon Wolter-Ferguson, along with her daughters, Tatiana and Natalya, headline one of the premier "pre-owned", designer-goods trading site based in Britain. Often described as an "eBay for designer fashion", the site allows consumer-to-consumer buying and selling of designer goods (new and used), as well as a VIP option where they handle your inventory, send it to buyers and collect the fee.
If you are into designer fashion, major discounts are to be had. A charity function on the site has been popular with those who want to sell their designer gear for a cause, and it has attracted a long list of celebrities and socialites with overflowing wardrobes. I visited their office to find a small team hard at work among rails of Chanel jackets, Cavalli dresses and stacks of Louboutins. The glittering collection near my seat is all from Topshop heiress and reality TV star Chloe Green.
The next online charity auction, on November 13, again in aid of Unicef, will be the main event for the Wolter-Ferguson ladies in the coming weeks. Beckham and musicians Ronnie Wood and Liam Gallagher are among those who have submitted items for auction.
The concept is not new, and there are similar sites in Britain and US. But Hardly Ever Worn It's engagement with clientele, charity and celebrities has given it a distinctive edge. Only two months ago, their party and charity auction at The Dorchester hotel continued to drive press and new followers to the site. Beyond this angle, however, lies a slick functional page for fashion fans. Those with a nose for a good deal and an eye for style might be surprised at the items on offer. Case in point: the unworn Margiela trainers and beautiful camel trench coat that I'm in today.