Welcome back to our series Behind the Scenes! We’ve made this one a summer edition all things dreamy and everything in between from breaking the office light to new machinery, again… never a dull moment. So buckle up, get ready for all the latest goss, insights and sneak peaks of what’s coming!

If you have been following us on socials or online (sadly all events were cancelled this summer, so we couldn’t say hi in person) then you will know the past few months overarching campaign has been Dreams. This led to dream inspired collections, new dream giving projects and a lot of changes going on at the Oi HQ. So let’s dive in and unpack what’s been going on the past few months.

Wear One Share One Reimagined

Social distancing restrictions led to our original Wear One Share One having to grow from giving customers the additional giving product to share in their city. We started off with hygiene packs, then it was meals donated with each purchase, to dream packs sent to New York and finally we arrived at ‘The Dream Project.’ I’ve been excited about this one, why? The Centenary House is a centre that offers accommodation and support for adult males experiencing homelessness. Last year we got the pleasure of meeting the team who ran the facility and heard more about ways we could get involved. The main suggestion was to renovate their communal living space, a place where the men relax and hang out. At OutsideIn we love the fine details, so as soon as I was being shown round I could see the potential this room could have, somewhere that we would all love to relax, meet a friend and more importantly somewhere to dream for the future!

So this summer we got in contact with Ben, who works at Centenary house and we came up with a game plan and worked out how many purchases we would need to totally transform the space. That came to a total of 1,667! We reached out to you guys on social media to start, looking for an interior designer and so many of you got in touch which we are super thankful for! Sophie Mutton helped by creating an incredible 3d drawing of what we could do, intentionality being seen from the get go, furniture, instruments, lighting, art, absolutely everything was thought of to make this the dream living space for people experiencing homelessness. Even better, Ben chatted to the guys living in the space and they wanted to help renovate too. Since we can’t have access to the room due to COVID they will be helping to paint, build furniture and add accessories, which for sure will add a sense of achievement that they too have helped to make their living space a new place that they can dream. I’ll attach a before and a planned after photo below just so you can see what we plan to do.

belfast help homeless

This project really gets me excited, it’s a lasting impact and a taste of something that I want to do more of here in Belfast, across the UK and eventually the world. Giving back to people who deserve a second chance, and need to know that their lives matter.

Dream Campaign

Ok I might be going back on myself here, to the reason why we made this summer all about dreams. So.. Dreams, it’s a word that has followed me my whole life, from my school years being called ‘the daydreamer.’ I was that guy in class who stared out of the window then got brought back to earth with ‘David, do you care to answer the question?’ I honestly had the best intentions of listening.

When dreaming out the vision of OutsideIn 3 years ago, the idea seemed crazy, to empower customers with the responsibility to give out products in their city, was it even a feasible model? Where do you start? There were so many barriers, obstacles that initially it seemed like I needed to answer them all to start. The dream to change the perceptions of homelessness is what made me push through, to at least try and if worse came to worse... at least nobody could ever say I didn’t give it a go. Dreams are like hope, they keep us going, excited and willing to look beyond current circumstances no matter how tricky they may be. In my uni days I used to do street photography which gave me the most amazing experience of getting to know many people experiencing homelessness. One thing I would always ask is what’s your dream? And so often the response was ‘do you really want to know?’ There was a sense of optimism, that they still held the reality of their dreams tightly to their chest, and after they told me, whether it was their dream to run a business, be a hairdresser or work in a cafe, once verbally spoken the belief in achieving their dreams for them seemed more plausible. I always left those conversations totally inspired that despite circumstances being against many of these individuals, they attained a sense of optimism for the future. The greatest encouragement when I started off my journey in business was from friends, family and many people on the street who helped encourage me to create OutsideIn.

So this summer we wanted to create collections based upon encouraging and inspiring people to dream, to know that anything is possible, that dreams are personal and never be scared to share your own. We split this into two meanings. First off Head in the clouds.

Head In The Clouds

Outsidein head in the clouds collection weareoi

This collection is all in the name, our aim was to inspire people to keep their head in the clouds. Starting off with our vision of rewriting the perceptions of homelessness, we created an art piece that would inspire others to dream with endless potential. For some people this collection helped them to take a minute to breathe in the busyness of life and to think, ‘what’s my dream, what do I want to achieve?’ a chance for them to start to dream their dream. 2020 has been a tough year for everyone, a chance where for many dreams have got that little bit harder to achieve. Like the dreams of people we met experiencing homelessness we wanted people to be inspired that their dreams are still possible despite the current chaos of life around them. The team worked incredibly hard on this one and the photoshoot turned into a crazy dream world with smoke, clouds and massive butterflies as can be seen below.

head in the clouds dreams outsidein wear one share one

I have to give credit to the social Impact team, they worked their butt off when it came to how we could give back during the summer drops. For Head in the Clouds we chose to support The Bowery Mission, an amazing charity who last year alone provided more than 558,000 hot meals, 140,000 nights of safe shelter, and 100,000 articles of clothing to individuals experiencing homelessness. We created 150 dream packs that included essential items for their service users; t-shirt, socks, hand sanitiser, beanie and a personal message of encouragement. Click here if you want to find out more about the Bowery Mission and how packs helped give back this summer. Why New York? Though based in Belfast the global reach of the brand has continually expanded and with New York having 70,000 people experiencing homeless, we wanted to do our bit in helping to spread Hope to the city.

bowery mission new york outsidein homeless wear one share one

Never Too Late To Dream

Nobody likes hearing the words ‘It’s too late.’ We hear it all the time, whether it’s applying for our dream job, an old dream or learning a new skill. This collection was designed to inspire people that it is never too late to dream, no matter your age, background or obstacles you face. This drop was definitely one of my favourites in terms of design, products and the colours chosen.

As part of this collection in early August we launched ‘The Dream Project.’ More details coming soon on how this is going on but we will be taking you further behind the scenes, update emails as we transform the room for people experiencing homelessness.

Never too late to dream collection

New Embroidery Machine

Hope Sweet Hope sweaters, OutsideIn tees, hoodies and much much more. 3 years of OutsideIn has included hundreds of products that have been finished with embroidery. Who has been the hands behind all these threads over the years? One man, an absolute legend, his name is Marcin. I met Marcin 3 years ago, originally bringing him a few t-shirt samples to try our logo on. From school wear, workwear, Irish dancing costumes, this guy does it all. We hit it off straight away, Marcin is meticulous, everything has to be the best quality, not a millimetre out of place. Working with Marcin turned into thousands upon thousands of embroidered products. We took over his shop, picking up products at all hours. We always spoke about one day having everything in house at our office and we arrived at that point this summer. It was emotional, I love Marcin and very much see him as part of the Oi Fam, a true friend and a gentleman. We will definitely be doing a feature of him on our feed because he deserves recognition for all the hard work he has put in over the past few years. OutsideIn would not be OutsideIn without him, I can’t thank him enough for all his work over the past few years and no doubt we shall stay in touch. 

The big day arrived, our new machine. The whole team was buzzing, it was as if Christmas had come early! We decided to go for a tajima four head embroidery machine, this machine meant business and was going to be our latest Oi fam member, so we made sure it was the right fit. I may have got a little excited when it arrived and cut the wrong plastic, which was actually a protective covering but in typical OutsideIn fashion it was videoed and will no doubt feature sometime in socials. Why is this machine so important you may ask? Having this machine in house means more designs, more colours, and more opportunities that we can offer you guys. I can’t wait to show you just what this machine is capable of but heres a few photos below to give you a glimpse of what it can do.

david johnston weareoi embroidery machine outsidein


We launched our very own depop store! With any clothing company items get damaged or have to be worn for shoots. Rather than wasting these items we decided to create our very own depop that would feature these items at a discounted price. Not only does it help make more of our products accessible for our customers to purchase, it means we can create an even more sustainable supply chain and ensure no clothing item is wasted. There’s also some crazy samples that have our logo printed 100 times if that’s the sort of unique piece you’ve been craving. Check it out!

Depop store online weareoi

Face Coverings

Government restrictions across the UK have made face coverings and masks a necessity for entering shops, retails stores and many more public places. We decided as a team that as great an idea to sell these would be, it came down to why should we, what would our purpose for doing it be? Two things came from these conversations, from the street team and partnered charities it was a highly in demand item needed for people experiencing homelessness. The other reason was we wanted to create face coverings that had messages of hope, that you could embrace and wear but also people walking past could see and feel encouraged. So we came up with a good local phrase ‘keep er’ lit’ and our Oi fam favourite ‘Hope Sweet Hope.’ They have been a huge success, especially on our giving nights people on the street loved the messaging and the practicality of the face covering. We hope you like them too!

Every face covering comes with an additional face covering for someone experiencing homelessness.

face coverings masks outsidein hope sweet hope keep er lit

Tie Dye

OutsideIn’s very first ever tie dye collection. A big well done to the team for this one and especially the fashion team with Rebecca leading the design. The fashion team found some old hoodies we had made and looked at how we could repurpose them. In the office we titled it Rebecca's revamp, another great way of becoming more sustainable with items that we are unable to sell. This became our fastest selling product to date, with most sizes selling out in the first two hours. If you didn’t get a chance to see what it looked like here you go, also Rebecca created a step by step tutorial on how to Tie Dye which I will include as a link below.

tye dye outsidein weareoi rebecca

This summer has been jam packed with new products, photoshoots, giving products and so much more. It’s been a challenging time as well as being a great time. The impact of COVID for us has been a chance to regroup, breathe and look at where we want to take the brand. I can’t thank you all enough for your support during this time, encouraging emails, messages and purchases that helps us to do what we do. You are the reason we can say confidently that we can rewrite homelessness, not just our business, but as a society here in Belfast, the UK and across the world. Thanks for being a part of the movement, thanks for reading and have the best week!


Leave a comment