Pop-up for a fashion bargain

Safe At Last Charity clothes shop''Jacquie Hawkins in the room with dresses
Safe At Last Charity clothes shop''Jacquie Hawkins in the room with dresses

A Chanel pure silk scarf for a mere £8, Seven For All Mankind Jeans down from £250 to £10 and a slinky Karen Millen cocktail dress for the price of two Margaritas...

Fashionistas hoping to bag a pre-Christmas bargain, form an orderly queue.

A pop-up boutique in Sheffield city centre is putting cheap into chic with some incredible prices on top-notch gear. But be quick about it if you want to nab a new wardrobe; the bargains are available for three days only.

The store, which opens today in a former restaurant, is expecting queues outside its doors and its takings to run into thousands by the time it closes at 5.30pm on Saturday,

There’s no fat-cat owner creaming profits off your hard-earned cash, though. At the Charity Chicks Boutique, it’s truly a win-win situation all round; every penny raised goes to help South Yorkshire Children and young people’s charity Safe@Last.

Every item on the rails has been donated – and is either quality second-hand or new, unwanted stock from generous fashion brands.

Volunteers who have toiled for hours to sort, clean, press and present the clothes, shoes, handbags, belts and scarves that have arrived in binbags at their charity’s doors in Dinnington have found loads of designer treasure – from Gucci and Paul Smith items to pieces by French Connection, Ralph Lauren and Diesel.

There are vintage pieces and plenty, too, from big high street names like Topshop, Mint Velvet, River Island and Next.

“There are some real gems,” says charity founder Hilary Massarella. “The generosity of the people who give to us never ceases to me amaze me.”

The three-day boutique, which has transformed Surrey Street’s former Tuckwoods restaurant, latterly the upmarket London Club, is the fourth Charity Chicks venture. The first, in a Dinnington double-glazing shop, was followed by pop-ups in Meadowhall during the centre’s October Fashion Weeks.

Explains Hilary: “Times are harder than ever for charities and we are continually looking for new ways to fundraise. We can’t afford premises for a permanent shop so the pop-up boutique idea, which volunteers Jacqui Hawkins, Louise Stacey, Jo Gibbs and Rosie Dean came up with after watching fashion guru Mary Portas’s Mary Queen Of Shops series, works really well for us.

“We go wherever we can find a venue and the bargain-hunters just seem to follow us. Word gets out and there are always queues at the door.”

Hilary didn’t have far to go to find the Surrey Street site, though; her caterer husband Mark has a long lease on it.

Her charity, which helps young runaways and educates children and young people about the risks and dangers of running away, relies heavily on the money the shop raises.

So far the charity’s coffers have been swelled by a huge £45,000 - last year’s event alone raised over £16,500 in just four days.

* The Charity Chicks store at 33 Surrey Street runs from 9.30am to 5.30pm today, Friday and Saturday.