Eco fashion news

Kollabora: Inspiring DIY Online

You might call it Pinterest meets Etsy meets Amazon, but it’s far more unique than that.

Story by Ariel Azoff - Source:
Placemat upcycled into a chic clutch by Red-lia  Photo ©  Kollabora

Placemat upcycled into a chic clutch by Red-lia Photo © Kollabora

You might call it Pinterest meets Etsy meets Amazon, but it’s far more unique than that. Kollabora is an online community for makers, DIYers, and upcyclers to celebrate the process of creating.

How it Works

When a Kollabora user makes something crafty, he or she (usually she) uploads an image of the finished work along with a step-by-step guide detailing how she made it. The site lists links to the supplies needed on the same page, so visitors have everything they need in one spot to replicate the project. In this way, they really are creating a community of people sharing creatively…Kollaborating, if you will.

Right now, the site is divided into sections for sewing, jewelry, and knitting, but Editor/Social Media Manager Lindsey Ibarra says they plan to expand that soon. “We’re going to add in crocheting, home decor, and more forms of DIY,” she explained. “Lots of things people do aren’t a specific skill, so we’re always reconfiguring to adapt to change.”

Apparently, there has been some resentment from the crochet community at being lumped in with those crazy knitters.

The Movement
The “Maker” or “DIY” movement has exploded among the kids of baby boomers. Many of us learned from grandmothers how to knit and sew, and now we’re reviving these skills. Kollabora is the online space to do exactly that.

“I think it also has to do with the movement towards wanting to know where our food comes from,” Lindsey said. “Which translates into wanting to know where things in general come from. We are also a generation that sits at the computer a lot, and making is a way to do something that is personally fulfilling outside of work.”

She added that it’s especially nice for people that don’t live in cities or places with physical communities of DIYers to connect with others online.

Many users on the site link to their own DIY blogs or Etsy shops as well.

Sustainability is at the heart of Kollabora. When we talk about Eco Fashion, we talk about the process of creating something that is personal. We want to know what the materials are and who put them together. Everything on Kollabora is handmade, and the emphases on sharing and working together are also part of the movement towards more sustainable creation and consumption of goods.

Upcycling Stars Shine on Kollabora
Beyond that, the site is chock full of upcyclers and re-purposers who are using all kinds of old materials to make new and very fabulous creations. One such star is Michelle Bingham, who used old gift cards to make these awesome colorful chevron earrings …

Photo ©  Kollabora

Photo © Kollabora

…and this uber-fabulous necklace of antique brooches:

Photo ©  Kollabora

Photo © Kollabora

Then there’s Caitlin who makes cocktail rings out of old earrings and Red-lia who upcycled a placemat into a chic clutch. Notice how the makers have also engaged in the discussions on their project pages?

Photo ©  Kollabora

Photo © Kollabora

How it All Started
Kollabora was founded by Nora Abousteit in early 2012 and the site was opened up to the public last September. Since then, it’s experienced impressive growth, already passing 11,000 users and bringing in significant investment capital.

Before founding Kollabora, Nora founded and ran, the largest online sewing community. The idea for the new site came from frustration that there was nowhere online or off where you could get inspiration for projects and buy the supplies. Now there is.

What’s Coming Up
In the future, the team will continue to expand categories and facilitate communication among members. The format may change slightly to create even more of an emphasis on the process, rather than the product.

“The finished good is important, but the journey is most important,” Lindsey explained. “We’re trying to create more conversations around techniques and collaboration between people.”

They’re certainly on the right track.

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