Have you ever seen your clothes being made? Do you want to? If so, take note: the IOU Project is launching a clothing line at the end of this month, and it’s incorporating a way to see directly how your clothes are made.
Founders Kavita Parmar and Ricky Posner want consumers to be able to see every step of their garment’s creation — and so they’re enabling just that, through video, social media, and editorial content.
To accomplish this, they’ve partnered with Indian weavers and Italian craftsmen to fully document the handmade production of one-of-a-kind pants, shirts, and skirts from Indian lungi — two-meter pieces of cloth that are either solid colored or madras. Because the cloth is hand woven, no two garments are the same. And because the clothing line bypasses machines altogether to focus exclusively on traditional artisans at every step, it’s globally conscious and fairly eco-friendly (though, yes, we do realize it has to be shipped from India to Italy and then to wherever a customer resides, but that’s the only major downside).
IOU Project’s partnership with its weavers in particular is super personal and really commendable. Just as you can see your clothes being made, the weavers can see the finished product on you (when have you ever heard of that before??). The site also enables the clothes makers to sell the clothing themselves if they so choose.
The social aspect is also pretty involved — through a “Trunk Show Host” platform, IOU lets customers or weavers, or really anyone, view and “reserve” a number of the IOU items to share with potential shoppers through whatever social network they choose. This helps catalog and organize the clothing, since every piece is individually photographed to be shown over the Web.
Meanwhile, the clothing “hosts” receive a 20% commission if they make a sale.
We’ll be following how this works out — it’s a simultaneous distribution and advertising platform that seems fairly unique. We also look forward to seeing a clothing collection that emerges as a brand already integrated with a media platform. In that regard, the IOU Project is a step ahead of established fashion, which has been rushing to catch up on the social media front.