Oxfam: the golden child of the fashion industry

Possibly the best kept secret of the fashion industry, Oxfam’s website contains luxury brands such as Prada, Miu Miu and Burberry as well as the best of the high street all at bargain prices.


From Oxfam Online’s first campaign | Image Credit: Julia Fullerton for Oxfam

Oxfam has emerged as an unlikely rising star of the UK’s fast-growing online fashion scene as it casts an increasingly canny eye over the branded cast-offs and vintage styles dumped in bin bags on its shops’ doorsteps every day. And if you look closely some of the clothes might seem familiar. In fact, they might actually be your clothes.

“It is a big secret but when people hear about our website they are really intrigued.”

says Oxfam trading director Andrew Horton, who wants to double the size of the web operation to reach 10% of retail sales over the next three years.
There are more than 125,000 one-off products listed on the Oxfam website, a vast catalogue that includes books as well as music and clothing. At the moment, a trawl of Oxfam’s designer boutique turns up a silk Hermès scarf, with a £190 price tag, and a Burberry trench coat for £110.

“I was in Batley to help pack Christmas orders and one was a Karl Lagerfeld jacket from the 80s,” says Horton. “We always take the view that people who donate want us to try and raise as much money as we can. Generally, that’s about a third of the retail cost. The Lagerfeld jacket was £75 and people who like vintage clothing will know that is a good price.”

Sales were up 33% at Christmas as shoppers bagged vintage and designer clothes for the party season but the figures are a drop in the ocean compared with high street giants such as Marks & Spencer. With annual sales on track to exceed £74m this year, the charity’s success is measured not by its share price but clean water, with its progress at Christmas enough to help 200,000 people.

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