TED for Open Source and Open Source Clothing

Thomas Becker just signed up as a True Fan, after finding out about our work through John Robb’s blog, Global Guerillas. He is the “owner” of Lastwear – an open source clothing company based in Seattle, USA. The Last in Lastwear refers to lasting – just as Life in LifeTrac refers to lifetime design. Lastwear is currently in the process of converting all of their patterns to a digital format so that they can be released for download from their site. I look forward to the time when the resilient community infrastructure base will include the production of clothing beyond sweatshops, and we already have some leads in this direction at Factor e Farm. Growing the fiber can be done with the LifeTrac infrastrucure, processing the fiber will be done with related equipment (to be developed), and the last step is sewing from open source design patterns such as those to be available globally from Lastwear. This is important – as everybody wears clothes – just like everybody uses a tractor, directly or indirectly, if they eat food. There is no question about the potential economic impact of open source clothing – on sweat shops in particular.
To get more of an idea of their philosophy and to support their project, take a look at their Kickstarter page where their moves to make Lastwear properly transparent are most clearly detailed at this point. Lastwear is currently trying to find ways to re-imagine business into something in between the work of OSE and a regular for profit business entity,  while promoting open source approaches to local business/community building. According to Thomas, when he first started Lastwear it was his firm belief that the biggest obstacle to getting creative people working together was issues of intellectual property ownership.  To avoid the frictions that such things can cause Lastwear has always released all material under a CC Atribution/Share Alike license, thereby allowing people to join or leave at will.
Thom’s group is currently working with Seedspace to start an open source/CC lecture series similar to TED in format to bring local artists and businesses together to discuss the benifits of taking an open approach. This project will be called Open UP, and we think this project holds great promise in terms of incubating open, economically-significant collaboration. This s a type of event that has the potential of spreading like wildfire in the open source community. The first event will be held in August. We have already discussed presenting on the work of Open Source Ecology at one of their future events. This looks like a promising event – just like our last presentation on the Economy in a Box, which resulted directly in 6 people being added to our base of, now, 80 True Fans. Subscribe.


  1. Ivan

    Great news. Clothing machine I hope will come soon into the RepLab equipment. 🙂

    Here is a video of the first loom with arduino(just last month)

  2. […] a new forum focusing on open source topics. We have dubbed OpenUp as the TED for Open Source in a previous post.  Our thanks go to Thomas Becker, co-founder, for inviting us. Thom has also started Lastwear, the […]