Upgarm | Dooka Design Diaries

February 10, 2022

Capitalising on the growing movement towards considerate consumerism, UpGarm were building an novel application that would allow upcycled fashion designers to sell custom pieces directly to their target customers. After seeing the shocking environmental statistics on the impact of fast fashion, Mikey, Annabel and Ben wanted to create an application that supported the growing audience for circular clothing.

The attitude was revolutionary. The founders aspired to change not only the fashion industry but also preconceived notions of what “upcycled” clothing represents. Through our workshops we recognised the necessity for UpGarm to lead this uprising of conscious consumerism - and do it in style. A driving strategic decision was transitioning the conversation to “reworked” pieces. Creating an identity of carefully curated concepts that were designed and executed by trained, textile artists.

Therefore, in our market research, we looked towards the premium fashion market. The conceptual pieces that were commonly associated with the catwalks of Paris and Milan better articulated the commitment to craftsmanship that we wanted to emulate with the peer-to-peer social shopping service.

We wanted to create an aesthetic that felt luxury and yet grass roots; exclusive, yet collaborative. Our primary source of inspiration was a fashion studio, encapsulating an immersive atmosphere of creativity. Experimental materials overlaying influential imagery on pristine white walls embodies process, progress and above all, artistry. We wanted to avoid the inaccessibility of a galleries final pieces, this was achieved by a considerate use of layering that resembled that of a scrapbook.

The leading wordmark of the UpGarm brand reflected the clean, san-serif fonts of the modernist Scandinavian fashion houses - with a twist. Adding a scratchy pen texture reinforced the general raw mantra of brand and service.

Leading the charge was the rebellious UG monogram. The proposed guerilla style marketing lent itself to an identity that could be reinterpreted across all mediums. We wanted to create a logo that was ultimately iconic, but also recreatable. This would allow the UpGarm message to be spread far and wide by brand ambassadors.

The developed brand aesthetic spanned multiple touchpoints, most notably the UX/UI of the UpGarm App. As a new player in the peer-to-peer space it was important to differentiate from Depop and Etsy, which focused on quantity over quality. Steering clear of the typical squares and grids, we wanted to create a less regimented aesthetic that echoed the scrapbooks and studio walls of budding fashionistas.

The UpGarm application is now available through the App Store, serving as a marketplace of specialised boutiques. Physically, the brand is used through makeshift marketing for disruptive pop-ups across the U.K. It is galvanising both creators and consumers to shop more responsibly through the first app-based marketplace in the reworking space.

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