Many people are familiar with the charity Oxfam, but few associate it with haute couture. However, this worldwide organisation is adding to its brand image while taking on a whole new form of fundraising. Oxfam’s clothing boutique in west London offers a fashion-forward experience in a posh environment that will appeal to socially conscious fashionistas everywhere.
Many charities have thrift shops for fundraising, where supporters can donate cast-off apparel and other items which are resold to others. However, Oxfam has given this concept a whole new angle. A team of young designers takes donated goods and rework them into new garments that have the quality and style to make it on the runway. In addition, completely new sustainable and fair trade goods are also sold in the store, as well as donated second hand items.
The boutique in Westbourne Grove opened under this concept and was widely successful, enough that the charity plans to open similar shops in Chelsea and Chiswick. Clearly this venture is raising money, but what does that mean for an established charity such as Oxfam? How does this new business move affect the Oxfam brand?
Oxfam has a brand image that is perfectly summed up by its logo. The general shape is a circle, which is an inclusive image. The circular theme is carried throughout the logo, with an ‘O’ and an ‘X’ formed out of stacked round shapes. The thickness of the shapes and the writing gives a feeling of solidity and weight, adding a touch of legitimacy to the logo and the brand.
While the Oxfam logo is usually displayed in a lime green, the boutiques will use a black and white palette instead. This is likely because black is an iconic and classic colour in the world of the fashion. However, all other elements of the logo will remain identical, creating a distinction between the stores and the charity itself while making sure their link is easy to identify.
How will this affect the Oxfam brand? While fashion and charity are not usually seen as fitting together, this global organisation has the weight to make it work. Being kind and living green is back in style. With fashion-conscious young people digging through thrift stores to put together a unique and sustainable look, this appeal to the upper classes just might be successful. Further, this rebranding of the Oxfam boutiques might make the charity seem more stylish, which will encourage young people as well as the stylish upper classes to give a larger percent of their charity budget to this organisation.
Being generous has always been in style, but it has never looked so good. The verdict is still out on this rebranding of the Oxfam thrift shop, but it has all the elements of a winning brand. Charities more than ever must be run like businesses, with attention to branding and all the little details that includes. Oxfam’s brand is one of the strongest on the globe, and with this new development poised to grow even more.