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Today (Thursday 8th August) Marks & Spencer, the UK’s no.1 lingerie retailer, is kick starting its latest bra fit campaign encouraging customers to ‘love your boobs’ by getting fitted and ‘recycle your bra’ by popping old ones in M&S’s Shwopping recycling boxes. 

M&S has a 36.5% market share for bras and already fits over half of all women in the UK. The new marketing campaign, which runs until September, aims to debunk some of the myths around bra fitting, including that it takes ages, that you have to take all your clothes off and that you can’t recycle your old or unwanted bras when you purchase new ones. The campaign will drive customers to sign up for bra fits online and selected store windows will feature QR codes that take customers to the online booking tool. M&S has also invested in its bra fit scheme ahead of the launch of the campaign by re-training its 4,800 dedicated bra fitters. 

With 88% of women purchasing a bra when fitted, and approximately 50,000 women getting fitted each week, there’s potentially thousands of bras customers may want to recycle, so M&S will be moving its Shwop recycling points to the lingerie fitting rooms during the campaign. Bra fitters will also be telling customers about the Shwopping scheme, which started in 2012 and allows customers to bring back any clothes, whether fully intact or damaged, to M&S stores to be recycled via Oxfam – including bras. The recycled bras will either be sold in Oxfam stores or they’ll be processed at Oxfam’s Wastesaver recycling facility in Batley, before being sent to the charity’s social enterprise project in Senegal, Frip Ethique. At Frip Ethique bras are sold on to over 500 local traders who sell them in their local communities and meet the needs of the local population. 

Julia Mercer, Head of Bra Fit at Marks & Spencer said, “Millions of women are wearing the wrong size bra and as a market leader, it’s our mission to help them find one that fits perfectly, whether it’s a first bra, a post-surgery bra or a pregnancy bra, we have a team of 4,800 bra fitters who are dedicated to helping women look and feel great. Our summer campaign aims to show that bra fits at M&S are quick and easy, but we also hope it encourages women to use our Shwop boxes to recycle bras they no longer need and help make a difference to other women’s lives.”

Oxfam's Fee Gilfeather said, “We all have a few bras in the drawer that we never actually wear, in fact the average woman in the UK owns 8 or 9, so bringing a few of them to M&S stores to recycle can make a massive difference. Not only are you giving the bra a second life, and saving it from landfill, but you're also raising money for Oxfam's fight against poverty around the world.”

M&S’s bra fit campaign runs from 8th August – 4th September, but M&S offer bra fitting year-round in UK stores. Customers can book a bra fit appointment in store or online and stores offer walk in appointments.

5 key points to find the perfect bra from Julia Mercer Head of Bra Fit at Marks & Spencer 

  • The under band is the most important area to get right, it’s the foundation of best bra fit. You should only be able to pull the bra 4 or 5cms away from back 
  • Wires at centre front should always sit back completely 
  • Wires at the side should sit on the ribcage and not breast tissue
  • Cups should fully encase the breast without spillage! 
  • Straps – you should always adjust on, and you should only be able to fit two fingers under the strap and your shoulder 

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More Details on Shwopping 

  • M&S started working with Oxfam on Shwopping in 2012.
  • Customers can bring any unwanted item of clothing into an M&S store (even if it’s not from M&S). 
  • You put your unwanted items into a ‘Shwop Drop’ box (you’ll find these by the tills in most M&S stores). 
  • All clothing goes to Oxfam and they'll either resell it in one of their shops or on the Oxfam Online Shop, sell it to be reused in different countries around the world, or recycle the fibres to make new material (which can be used by businesses like M&S, for example, as mattress filling). Absolutely nothing goes to landfill, and Oxfam use the money raised to help end extreme poverty around the world.
  • To date over 34 million items have been shwopped.