LSBU Fashion students help boost London charity shop sales

08 April 2024

Fashion Communication students from London South Bank University (LSBU) are helping to boost sales at the capital’s flagship Oxfam stores during their work placements.

All second-year students on the LSBU BA (Hons) Fashion Communication course are working for twelve weeks at the charity shops on visual merchandising, fashion photography, styling and curation, market research and social media. The window displays, in-store displays and social media campaigns they have created have helped improve sales at the stores, according to the charity. 

“I am absolutely blown away by what I have seen,” said Oxfam’s area manager Susan Cohen. “Notting Gill Gate, Gloucester Road and Westbourne Grove are particularly outstanding for me. And our income has been amazing in the last few weeks, so I am certain there is some correlation with the students’ work.” 

The turn towards sustainability and second-hand clothing is now a key part of the modern fashion curriculum. As a result of their success, the charity’s head office is arranging for LSBU students to showcase their work and ideas to Oxfam staff at an area meeting in April.

“Managing and working with the expensive designer pieces that are donated has been one of my favourite aspects,” said LSBU student Grace Eleanor Parry who is working at the store in Westbourne Grove. “Being given so much creative freedom with the store’s visual merchandising and social media accounts has been a wonderful experience.” 

Students on the Fashion Communication course undertake the compulsory work placements as part of their Employability and Enterprise module, beginning in January and continuing until May.

“Sustainability is embedded in our Fashion course curriculum, and we challenge the students to think creatively in terms of communicating sustainability and changing customer perceptions about second hand fashion,” said LSBU’s BA (Hons) Fashion Communications course director Dr Mirsini Trigoni.  “This has also been a fantastic and unique opportunity for our students to showcase their creativity in real-life projects, put into practice what they have learned so far on the course and network with one of the UK’s largest second-hand clothing resellers.”

LSBU’s Career Hub has worked closely with the Oxfam staff and the Fashion teaching team to set up these placements. The aspiration is that the placements can become an annual collaboration between Oxfam and LSBU.