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Open Source meets Fashion

Alex Christie

6 August 2008

For a while now, I’ve been keeping a close eye on the development of open source.  The concept really fascinates me and if I’m honest has slightly baffled me.  Perhaps this is something to do with having spent many years negotiating intellectual property protection rights.  Despite this, there is something quite exceptional in the concept; everyone can contribute to and use an application on the web.

I had first heard of open source in terms of software development.  An application is available on the internet where developers can add coding ideas to and use the software free of charge.  What I couldn’t get my head around was how companies could monetise by such ventures.

Then, at our Insight event in July Richard Titus, Director of Technology at the BBC, spoke of open source.  I have to admit that I, perhaps slightly sarcastically, thought that it is very easy to be so pro open source when you work in a not-for-profit organisation.  I was still seeking to understanding how open source could really fit into a business model.

This morning though I heard of a company that has ventured into the world of open source called Pamoyo.  As a German fashion label, Pamoyo has put its designs and patterns online for people to download, as long as they contribute to the open source.  The benefit of this is that it spreads the research and development costs over many people, as well as being an extremely effective online marketing campaign. 

It will be interesting to see how many companies take to using open source and what benefit they will gain from taking this brave step.  I for one will be watching the development with interest!

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