Of Shirts and Threads

12 Aug

Throughout my college life, I have acquired a lot of shirts – some of them were batch or org shirts, others I got from fundraising activities of orgs in school. I make shirt designs myself, too! And the bf and I do shirt printing every now and then. You can never go wrong with shirts. People buy them. People wear them. And people always like something new to wear.

It’s kind of a giveaway, then, to use shirts for corporate branding purposes. And I’m not talking about those branded shirt giveaways and printed umbrellas and calendars companies so eagerly give to people every Christmas. I’m talking about using apparel to connect the online to the offline. Yes, the third part of the Gel-O series.

Gel-O 3: Post Online, Wear Offline

About a year ago, Twitter and Threadless teamed up to give birth to Twitter Tees by Threadless.

You can log-in using your Twitter account and submit a tweet, or nominate one you want printed on your shirt. Each week, the two tweets with the most votes get printed! And of course, the owner and nominator of the winning tweets walk away with some cold, hard moola. Great.

What makes this tie-up different?

1. It’s a tie-up. Unlike other companies who print tweets on shirts (which I will not name, I don’t want to be sued or to even be bombarded with spam), Threadless is not just another third-party who wants to earn profit from tweets. They are partners with Twitter and they ask permission from Twitter users before printing their tweets. Now that’s good SOP.

2. It’s not one of those customize-your-shirt schemes. If your tweet is boring, there’s no way you can fulfill your ego-boosting dream of seeing your tweets on a shirt. Which leads me to my third point;

3. It’s a community. The Threadless brand of making shirts social is carried on in this project. People get together to vote for their favorite tweets, and form meaningful conversations and interactions along the way. The shirts are crowdsourced, and only the best emerges victorious!

Yes, Threadless makes shirts social. Not only are their tees inspired by the Web, they also integrate social media in their standard processes.

Their website isn’t the retail-store-gone-online type. They focused on participation and making online communities, as seen below:

And of course, no business structure would be complete without rewards:

They also go offline and tour the world, while publicizing the tours online:

Unlike other brands that use websites to supplement their advertising efforts, Threadless has managed to transform their .com space into an active, co-creating online community.

You see, we can connect the offline to the online using apparel in two ways: one, we bring online tools offline and wear them (i.e. the Twitter shirts), or two, we bring the wearers online and let them decide what they want to wear next.

New social media going into the RTW business will surely set the trends in trtfhyhmanufacturing and designing shirts for the coming years. This may be the best thing since haute couture. 🙂

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3 Responses to “Of Shirts and Threads”

  1. slightlydillydallying August 15, 2010 at 4:21 pm #

    This post exemplifies how capitalism meshes well with collaboration and social networking. Which reminds me of “Will it Blend”. Through gauging public clamor, they are able to decide on the next thing they’d put in the blender. It’s quite funny but it makes sense.

    • Gel August 15, 2010 at 5:29 pm #

      Yes! Funny indeed! Especially how the CEO says the phrase “Will it Blend” – it’s just hilarious! But yes, it makes sense, despite the hurting view of powdered iPhones and iPads. 😉

  2. marievalbuena September 30, 2010 at 9:29 pm #

    It’s nice how collaboration so easily mixes with money online nowadays. And it is certainly nice to see that genuine, collaborating communities are coming together because of initiatives such as this one. Not only is it good for business, but they’re also doing service to the people who are members – encouraging creative inputs and promoting good, healthy competition. It’s right on the money – by bringing businesses and products that customers consume closer to them, I think we’ll be seeing more and more of these communities/businesses spring online.

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