Open Clothes

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"Open Clothes is a Japanese language site that enables community learning, support, and commerce for entrepreneurs and designers in the fashion industry ­ people whose crafts and enterprises have been marginalized by mass production and concentration of ownership in large, highly capitalized economies. Designers, textile artists, button-makers, have found it difficult to pass along their skills, connect with each other, and to buy and sell their wares in an age of consolidated and highly automated supply chains. This unique site links the entire fashion supply chain, from fabric through design and accessorization, in a lateral community rather than a hierarchical bureaucracy. Small businesses that had been threatened by the globalization of fashion enterprises that worldwide communication media made possible can now use digital media to self-organize themselves.

If empowered citizens are the basis of successful e-democracy, and empowered patients might influence the growth of e-medicine, empowered small entrepreneurs are those who can use digital communities as e-business centers that bring global resources to individuals and help maintain cultural traditions, rather than drawing away resources and replacing traditions. Combining small e-businesses, a b2b market, and discussion forums provides the framework for an effective business community. No longer are there no viable choices for designers and artisans who do not join major commercial fashion enterprises. We hope that this award will encourage others to link and empower grassroots entrepreneurs and indigenous artisans." (source of comment unknown)