A designer clothes shop selling some of the biggest names in fashion – all in the name of charity – has opened its doors in Burnley.
Clarets striker Jay Rodriguez cut the ribbon to officially open Labels during a packed out launch ceremony in the town centre.
Labels, the first store of its kind in the area, will be selling brand new women's and men’s designer garments at up to 70% off recommended retail prices.
All proceeds from the venture will go towards the charity CARES – Cancer Assessment Rapid Early Support – which is aiming to raise £500,000 towards a new endoscopy machine for Burnley General Hospital’s cancer unit by the end of year.
CARES founder and Burnley FC director John Banaszkiewicz said: “CARES is working towards something that is very close to me. When we started the charity, we were aware that there was a lengthy waiting list in the town for certain types of cancer.
"We want to help detect these cancers earlier. Supplying Burnley General Hospital with an additional endoscopy unit would mean approximately 5,000 extra patients being seen, which would be incredible.
"We wanted to do something that also raised the awareness of CARES and the shop certainly does that. People are able to come along and donate to a good cause, and bag a bargain. It’s the best of both worlds.
"We are still going to be hosting fund-raising events. We held one at the Fence Gate at the weekend, which Sean (Dyche) came to; and that raised £10,000. So far we have raised £50,000, so we're 10% of the way there. We have got a long way to go and we are going to be relying heavily on public donations, but I’m confident we can hit the target by the end of the year."
Work on the store, which is located in the old Thorntons shop in Charter Walk, only started in December with local tradesman donating their time free of charge to help get the shop ready.
These have included contractors Mick Tracey and Gary O’Neil working with materials from MKM Burnley and James Hargreaves Plumbing merchants; John McKenna Joinery; Clearly Interiors and George Boocock Decorators.
Mark Surdival Electrical Services worked on the LED lighting and CCTV while the likes of P and M Coppack, B&D Print, Financial Affairs, Creation Signs, Option Hygiene, NPTV, Carpet Market, Fagan and Whalley, Thorne Security, Edward Taylor textiles and SMF Designs have all supported the cause.
Mr Banaszkiewicz added: “The shop is amazing. It’s so unique and I think it works really well in the town centre. I've been overwhelmed by all the help we have had in getting the unit ready. Everybody has been working for free and I would like to thank all of them for their generosity. If this is a success then we could end up opening stores in Barrowford and Clitheroe."
Fashion lovers will be able to get their hands on new and used designer labels, including Karen Millen, Moschino, Boss, plus many more, now the store has officially opened for business.
All stock has been donated by local stores, such as Scruples and Michelle B. In addition, Boohoo.com is supplying Karen Millen and Coast garments following their recent acquisition of the company.
All are fully behind the store’s sole aim of selling bargain, quality clothing to the town of Burnley and knowing that 100% of the profit goes to CARES.
There are also plans to release a new Labels fragrance, and retail manager Sarah Walker said: “It’s really exciting. It’s a brilliant idea and hopefully one that will raise a lot money for CARES. We have so much stock, and there is so much variety; from prom dresses to little black dresses and a full men’s section also.
"All items in the shop are genuine brands. We have Karen Millen dresses priced at £235 going for £70; there’s a Forever Unique dress worth £699 on sale for £70. We are not asking people to bring in clothes donations. These are not second hand goods. They have been sourced from genuine distributors and are all brand new."
Jay Rodriguez, whose brother Joe has donated clothing from his clothing line Rzar, said: ‘It’s a great idea, and it’s for a really good cause. It’s good to give back to the local community and CARES is a charity that is doing just that.
"The shop looks really good. It’s nice to get a bargain and there are some incredible deals here.”
Burnley Council chief executive Mick Cartledge said Labels was a welcome addition to the town centre.
“Labels is a good quality shop that’s raising money for a good cause. It’s win-win.
"It brings a different clothing offering to the town centre and looks fantastic. Thorntons was here for a very long time but for a town the size of Burnley we only ever have a small number of vacant town centre units. It’s really good to a see a high quality shop take up this space."