Threadless has been slyly hinting for months that it would be evolving its brand.
It appears they'll do it through charities.
CEO Thomas Ryan sat down for an interview with Fast Company about the T-shirt company's newest -- and also a bit perplexing -- venture: Atrium. It's a small name for what at its heart is a simple concept: Enabling charities and other organizations to tap into Threadless' community-based designs. Right now that just means T-shirts are being made with the DNA Foundation or the Oceanic Preservation Society being the theme that must be demonstrated on the design. Oh, and, Threadless passes along 25 percent of the proceeds to the corresponding organization.
"We started with T-shirts [for this] because that's what we know," Ryan told Fast Company. "But we see Atrium as a platform that will enable different organizations that will use artwork that can be used for a variety of different applications."
It's that "variety of different applications" that's a bit unclear still. But that just might be by virtue of Atrium being so new. In fact, Atrium's submission page for causes and caused-based marketing campaign has a big write-in blank for how applicants would like to use the new service. Given Threadless' crowdsourcing model, that makes sense.
This is an interesting extension of that philosophy, which Threadless might have some larger vision for if it proceeds successfully.
BELOW: COMPANION VIDEO FOR FAST COMPANY.