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Threadless Launches New Cause Site

A few months ago, I tweeted that I wanted an introduction to Jake Nickell, the co-founder of Threadless.com. Threadless, as most of you know, is an online t-shirt phenomenon that practically invented the space that we now refer to as crowd sourcing. That might be a slight overstatement, but they certainly got into it before it even had a name. And they have done it with great class and respect for their vibrant, international community.

Well, the Twitterverse came through with an introduction (thanks, tweeps!). In a matter of a few hours, we were connected and soon after that, we were sitting down to lunch. Jake is everything you could hope he would be. Cool, smart, talented and a little shy.

My agenda was to talk about an idea. I had to use the very unique talents of designers and artists to communicate in ways that non-profits don't seem to be very good at. Namely, designers make it cool and fun and the issue comes through in a more human and organic way. Non-profits seem to just clobber you with facts. It can create message fatigue. So I had this friend who was crusading to create awareness around Genetically Modified Food, GMOs, Frankenfoods, etc., and I felt an almost Wacky Pack approach to making parody products, but that illustrate the dangers of GMO would be smart. My hope was maybe we could some how "borrow" the Threadless platform or be a project or something. So I threw out the idea and to my delight, Jake was not only open, but he had actually been thinking about what else they could do with their platform already. So we discussed some of the different ideas and they were all really smart, but we both kept coming back to the idea of a cause platform.

T-shirts have historically been a communication platform for causes and the medium seems to suit a message of cultural and social rebellion. The t-shirt has become the medium of choice for popular art, replacing the album cover as the people's art form. As art, it makes sense for it to take on the social issues and injustices that art takes on.

We had another meeting or so as Jake and his team went to work, and then I didn't hear anything for a while. Well I have this web show and Jake was an upcoming guest so I figured we would catch up then. Yesterday was that day and we more than caught up. Jake actually announced the plans to launch their new site during the live show. Threadless Causes. We've got a sneak peak here on the blog and the plan is to go live as a beta sometime this December. Everybody here at FearLess is really excited about the potential this has to create one new, great big, powerful community, by joining the best of both the cause community and the design community.

Please take a minute to comment below with causes that you would like to see take advantage of this amazing new platform.

By Alex Bogusky

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    FearLess Revolution - Blog - Threadless Launches New Cause Site

Reader Comments (14)

This is really exciting guys! There are so many causes I could list but here are a few:
organics, non-gmo, anti-plastics, climate change, fossil fuel reduction, switching to natural power (wind, solar, water), stop animal testing and cruelty, the 3 R's (reduce, reuse, recycle), reducing your carbon footprint, vegetarianism.

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercheryln

I noticed on the show that Threadless does not offer organic cotton t-shirts. If they want to use their business for good, they should start by looking at their own product. I think the new cause site is a great idea, and it would be even better if they used it to introduce more responsible products into their line.

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

Congrats on the collaboration!

I'd like to see more advocacy for:

1. Natural childbirth. Over 30% of U.S. deliveries end up as c-sections. Global c-section rates are at epidemic levels. (China is nearly 50%!) Meanwhile, the WHO recommends 10%. These unnecessary c-sections are harmful to moms, babies and our health care system.

2. Breastfeeding. This milk. It does a baby good. Yet formula sales continue to grow in the U.S., especially among minorities. Science keeps finding more and more breastfeeding benefits for baby AND mom, from lower rates of cancer, obesity and diabetes to less need for braces and glasses.

3. Better paternity laws/benefits. Canada's got it going on, California's clueing in, and Sweden sets the gold standard, strengthening child parent relationships and marital bonding while reducing household stress. Its no wonder I have yet to meet a Canadian I didn't like.

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGenevieve

Education and increasing the quality of both the curriculum and the teachers in public schools. Allowing the schools a little freedom and creativity to extend the individual growth of the students. To add to it, let's take a look at nutrition for our children and educating parents on how to properly feed their children even when on a budget.

November 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Mendez

Awesome stuff. Can't wait to see where this goes!

November 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda K. Rue

- National Security (TSA pat downs)
- GMO frankenfoods
- Finance system failure
- Climate Change

(my new four horsemen of the apocalypse)

November 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJDilg

1) eliminate corporate money in American politics
2) the contamination of FOX News
3) moving from the 'production' of food back to growing of food
4) more money spent on military than on infrastructure
5) fat children

November 22, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermicah

This is awesome Alex, I've been thinking of a way to help elevate my Econserve ngo and I think you've struck the nail on the head with this.

December 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDil-Dominé

Are these causes really best served by wearing ironic, nicely-designed t-shirts?

When has a t-shirt solved anything?

I fear that this is good intentions but in the wrong place.

December 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermatt b

I love this. I've always wanted a more "cause" oriented pieces to Threadless. I'm in.

December 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLaura Brightwood

How about modern day slavery and human trafficking? It's the world's fastest growing illegal activity and one of its root causes is the lack of meaningful economic alternatives for the vulnerable. The Causes platform could enable greater awareness of arguably one of the most unknown but prolific issues of our time.

December 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSam Ng

Jeff...yeah having Organics as a graphic on a non organic shirt doesn't make sense...perhaps they would consider carrying organic shirts as an option...which by the way, I'm wondering if their printing is a non toxic, non polluting process. I've been hoping to hear an answer about this.

Matt...hopefully they would be donating money to the causes the shirts represent, but I'm not sure about that...Fearless?

December 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercheryln

illiteracy!

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersikko

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