Girlguiding, the organisation comprising Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Rangers has launched a new design tender for its uniforms.
Following its rebrand by Landor & Fitch earlier this year, the organisation is looking to overhaul its whole uniform range, worn by 370,000 girls and volunteers, for the first time in 30 years.
“We want to find a design partner who can work with us to create a new uniform range that shows what a bold, vibrant, exciting place Girlguiding is”, says Girlguiding creative lead Lynne De Serpa Pimentel. “Most importantly, we want designs that our girls and volunteers will love and want to wear with pride”.
De Serpa Pimentel explains that they are looking for a uniform range as memorable as fashion designer Jeff Banks’ 1990 design, and notes that teams could be made up of designers specialising in graphic design, branding and fashion to make this happen.
The new uniforms are due to be introduced in 2026, following the roll out of other aspects of the brand refresh in 2024. An expression of interest document highlights the Girlguiding masterbrand’s colour palettes, icons and patterns that have already been developed, and notes that the new uniform “should harness the spirit of the brand refresh but build on it and take it further”.
According to Girlguiding, the uniform should be “youthful, relevant and modern”, and “help to get across our beliefs and values as a charity, considering our historical context and who we are today”. It should also “differentiate us as a girl-led movement that offers something you can’t find elsewhere”, Girlguiding adds.
To inform the direction for the uniforms, Girlguiding explains that it approached more than 5,500 members for their thoughts and opinions. The organisation also worked with an external research agency to gain an understanding of how new audiences – encompassing prospective girls, volunteers and parents – feel about the uniform and “the meanings that people attach to uniform in general”.
“Our members tell us that our uniform is one of the things they value about being a member of Girlguiding and that it creates a sense of unity and belonging”, says Girlguiding.
Rather than having a set uniform, Girlguiding takes a flexible approach, allowing members to mix and match items from the range – which comprises t-shirts, hoodies, trousers, sashes blouses and neckerchiefs.
There are currently 39 pieces of uniform, but Girlguiding says that the redesign is an “opportunity to streamline our range”. The intention is to form a “new collection of key pieces” aligned with its design principles, Girlguiding states.
Affordability and accessibility are key factors. The uniform should be a “social equaliser and help unify members across a diverse base whilst still allowing girls and volunteers to feel free to be themselves. It should be affordable and not present any barriers to any girl or adult being able to wear it”, says Girlguiding.
The design should also “support the lowest environmental impact”, with its production, Girlguiding adds.
Other elements to consider are how Girlguiding badges – given to girls to award new skills and other achievements – will be displayed.
There are also the neckerchiefs, which are not a compulsory part of the uniform but date back to the first Girlguiding uniform of 1909. According to Girlguiding, these are popular items that individual units are able to personalise. Girlguiding notes that the redesign should consider “ways to integrate neckerchiefs and badges as part of our range of uniform accessories”.
To enter an expression of interest, applicants will need to write a short introduction of the team and its interest in applying, as well as providing examples of relevant previous work. The deadline for responses is 7 July 2023, with the full tender to be sent to screened applicants on 21 July, and the shortlisting stage commencing at the start of September 2023.
For more information about the brief, the project deliverables, the Girlguiding project team and the tender process, view the expression of interest document here.