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The T-shirt Issue Finds Support for Design with Meaning
© Image: The T-shirt Issue

The T-shirt Issue Finds Support for Design with Meaning

Editor's Note: This interview with the founders of The T-shirt Issue is the latest in a series of conversations with the people behind the most successful crowdfunding campaigns. For more insights, read our previous interviews, with the teams that created Revolights, [r]evolution apparel and Freaker USA.

Campaign Vital Stats:

Company - The TShirt Issue
Total raised - $20,455 
Goal - $20,000 
Total backers - 97

The T-shirt Issue is an interdisciplinary collective that combines fashion, design and technology into unique basic apparel, ranging from daily wearables to conceptual installations. The company’s products are made in a new digital environment that allows reconstruction of every piece of clothing from the core to any degree of complexity. With this new approach, the T-Shirt Issue has established a new dimension in which 2D, 3D and the space in between is reconsidered and experimented with. The team is composed of talented art and fashion designers including Hande Beguem Akcayli, Murat Kocyigit, Linda Kostowski, Rozi Rexhepi, Severin Schwanck. Rozi provided the answers to our questions What was your strategy in getting the word out?

The T-shirt Issue: With a pretty bold goal of $20k in a few weeks we knew we had to step on the communication like crazy. We first personally informed our closest circle of family and friends. We managed to get them to spread the project as well, both personally and through social platforms like Facebook and Twitter. We kept our presence on these platforms lively as well with daily updates and ads. In order to reach the people that we didn't know - or who didn't know us - we sent out press releases to a wide range of press contacts from the fashion, design and technology fields.

What were your biggest challenges?

Next to some tiny things, the real challenge was to create interest and getting people to actually pledge. Where a lot of successfully funded projects started out with a big community base, our social platforms were only getting started. Before we started the Kickstarter project, we'd already been active in the design scene. Communicating the switch from what we did to this entirely new product was one of the main challenges before we entered the CF platform.

What is your advice for potential crowdfunding seekers?

Take it real seriously. Don't go in head over heels but invest time and effort in articulating the story (with main emphasis on why your product is relevant) beforehand. Communication is key, so instead of passively posting a project and waiting for the money to come in, tell, spread, share, scream it out to everyone you know and don't know. Lastly, love your first pledgers - they're the ones taking a risk and giving you a chance to come through. Keep a dialogue running because their feedback is worth gold.

For another taste of The T-shirt issue's designs, check out this Elephant Island Sweatshirt , a tribute to the 28 men who braved the Trans-Antarctica expedition in 1914. The sweater is limited to 28 pieces celebrating the crew members, and the sweater’s seams follow the silhouette of Elephant Island, the place where part of the crew was marooned for 4 months.

- Diana Tsai is a crowdfunding consultant in the US, and is starting a crowdfunding platform in Shanghai focused on product design. Her company focuses on utilizing crowdfunding as a force to drive innovation and creativity in China. She is headed to Shanghai to launch as soon as she has finished her International Political Economy and Business Diplomacy degree at Georgetown University. All ideas are welcome--please contact her at

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