Friday, October 23, 2009

The Uniform Project: Convergence of Philanthropy, Fashion, Sustainability, and Commerce

The Uniform Project was birthed by two women, Sheena Matheiken, and Eliza Starbuck, inspired to use a blog and social networks to raise funds for a worthy cause. The mantra: one black dress-365 days, complimented with Sheena's creative styling imagination appeals to women around the world, who ask themselves the question; "What Shall I Wear Today? Respectfully, millions more have little to wear but one piece of clothing, constrained by education, health, and cultural hardships.

As many of us are moving away from the "brand is me" to the "brand is we" I predict that the attributes which motivate us to shop and transact has reached an inflection or "tipping point". Competition for resources will give way to cooperative commerce systems. Communities will vote together and buy core product categories in bulk. Bloggers will move from complainers to composers, partnering with new platforms like the Uniform Project to converge philanthropy, fashion, sustainability, and commerce. The popularity of the Uniform Project, through its daily serial of blog posts, is sending digital signals, a weather report on whats to come. The rapid escalation of tags,links,keywords and the signals emitted from hyper-layered social connectivity will likely to force the extinction of the current business and distribution hierarchy as we know it! Just read the Twitter trend feeds on your favorite topic or brand and feel the power of the stream. Its early, but the trend is undeniable.

In fact, not too long ago, store-based retailing was forced to adopt and embrace the Internet. The movement to online e-commerce was powered by technology. Watch now, as the movement to networked commerce, is further empowered by the connectivity provided by it. The Uniform Project and other initiatives like it exemplify the power of "trust agents" as Chris Brogan and Julien Smith have aptly named their new book. These "trust agents" are changing the business of retailing. They will motivate buyers to enjoy consuming, fueled in part by an awareness that every transaction can have a far greater value and influence than ever before. Its no longer just about "me", its also about "we". That's a large audience of consumers, a few hatching,
and a large number incubating, who will buy most of what they need through "trust agents" and love doing it. Social network connectivity is spawning an evolutionary
uptick in how we conduct commerce. Lets help each think less like marketers, and
more like farmers and stewards.

I want to encourage you to take a few minutes and watch the movie on the birth, and mission for the Uniform Project and thank you for sharing.


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