Boosting demand for second-hand fashion

The Brief

Barnardo’s Summer Fashion for Every Occasion campaign aimed to change the public’s behaviour around the purchase of summer fashion and ‘occasion wear’.

We also wanted to drive more people to Barnardo’s charity shops to buy second-hand items rather than new.

Barley had a target of eight to 12 pieces of national media coverage.

Insights and Approach

The UK are the biggest consumers of new clothes in Europe.

Our consumer polling found that in the summer of 2019 alone, Brits would potentially spend a staggering £2.7 billion on 50.3 million summer outfits they would only wear once. This is wasteful, expensive, and unsustainable.

We grabbed the public’s attention by tapping into public awareness and interest in single-use plastics; a topic already of interest to the media. Our news story offered a new angle highlighting the damaging impact of single-use fashion as an equally alarming and significant issue.

Honing in on summer fashion and making a specific call to action, we clearly presented the positive case for buying second hand from a Barnardo’s shop instead of buying new. This ultimately enabled us to drive a high level of engagement in the campaign.

Barnardo’s produced a summer ‘look book’ available in store and online with tips on finding and styling occasion wear at Barnardo’s shops, and a short film with tips from sustainable fashion influencers which went out on social media and online channels.

The Outcome

Barley generated extensive media coverage and exceeded all targets. The campaign’s primary objective was to drive more people to Barnardo’s stores. Additional sales of £118,491 in Barnardo’s stores (equivalent to an increase of 26,331 customers) were achieved during the campaign, helping to fund its work in transforming the lives of vulnerable children across the UK.

While retail outlets generally suffered slow sales in the summer, Barnardo’s bucked this trend and continued to outperform the sector with clear year-on-year growth.

Long tail coverage, including a mention in the opening paragraph of a Glamour Magazine article about sustainable fashion entitled; ‘How the charity shop got seriously cool (and the best ones to visit for incredible designer finds)’, evidences a permanent mindset shift for the better as a result of the campaign.


pieces of coverage



opportunities to see/hear


items of national coverage




in additional sales



additional customers

Absolutely amazing! We are so happy with the outcome of this campaign.

Charlie Enright | Head of Retail Marketing Barnardo's