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Online Retailer Uses Activism As Currency, Rather Than Money

At Aplomb, crowd-sourced content gets made into visual designs by up-and-coming artists, and then becomes clothing.

Sarah Unger
Sarah Unger on September 12, 2013. @sarahjane047

Indie online clothing retailer Aplomb revamped their business model to eliminate cash exchange, and instead promote the exchange of ideas.

Creative individuals write articles about things they want to advocate for and post their written content (from articles to music lyrics) to Aplomb’s community website. Topics range across a wide variety – from gun control to LGBT rights. People read the content and vote on the cause. Site members gain points for contributing ideas and voting on others’ ideas. The causes that get the most votes get turned into visual representations by up and coming artists that are printed on Aplomb’s clothing. Site visitors use points (not money) to buy the clothing, so they can literally wear their support of the cause. The people who participate on Aplomb’s website are called “The Creative Conspiracy.”

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Site founder Ryan Ryskamp says:

We can offer anyone the opportunity to contribute to our creative process and then watch their idea transform into a tangible product that is sold in retail stores alongside their favorite brands. It’s the ideas that are actually worth wearing. We love great design and fashion but they usually have a shelf life. Ideas can live forever, and have a tendency to spread. Why not give the opportunity to dictate the meaning within apparel to the people?

The company’s new name is Aplomb & The Creative Conspiracy, directly recognizing the importance of community-driven ideation in the company title. There is still a full-functioning e-commerce store for those who don’t want to pay for their clothing with points. Aplomb & The Creative Conspiracy is currently raising money on Kickstarter to complete funding for the new iteration of the website.

Kickstarter

Retail site: Aplomb Clothing

Community Site: The Creative Conspiracy

Thinking...