Like any major sports event, the FIFA World Cup is a prime merchandising moment, with vast quantities of t-shirts, scarves and those infamous vuvuzelas hitting the stadiums of South Africa and the streets of the teams’ home countries. But as crucial as they may seem to fervent soccer fans, most of the patriotic paraphernalia has a fairly short lifespan between shipping containers and landfills.
Offering a meaningful alternative to mass-produced goods, Dutch start-up Rainbow Collection decided to go local and fair trade. It partnered with Africa!Ignite to create the Orange Bracelet, made of beads in the Netherlands’ national colour (orange) and the rainbow colours of South Africa’s flag. The bracelets were produced by women in the province of KwaZulu-Natal; according to Rainbow Collection, it provided employment for more than 400 rural women by ordering 100.000 bracelets.
Besides offering Dutch fans a way to support both their national team and South African women, the Orange Bracelet is also one of the more stylish accessories designed for the 2010 World Cup. That combination of style and substance seems ripe for replication to other events worldwide.