Even though green fashion has come a long way in the past decade, the very structure of how the fashion industry operates prevent it from becoming fully eco-friendly. The very concept of fashion isn't green at all. The majority of designers on the market, myself included, produce new, trend-driven collections every few months that are designed to create a false sense of need within the consumer rather than oriented towards fulfilling practical needs. It's something that makes me feel a bit guilty about what I do, contributing more useless things to our over-cluttered world. I will be the first to admit that none of us actually need jewelry--its purpose is purely symbolic or decorative, it doesn't even cover us up or keep us warm. While many eco-conscious brands focus on environmentally friendly materials and production methods, as consumers, we should also consider our consumption habits, and rethink how we buy.
The I Owe You Project addresses some of these concerns. First off, it focuses on empowering the artisans who produce the clothes by working with individual hand-weavers and textile makers rather than relying on machine-made materials, using 100% sustainable materials and energy-saving production methods. Secondly, since IOU works with craftsman from the production of the fabrics to the construction of the garment, they're able to make each garment completely unique, and no two pieces produced will ever turn out the same. When you purchase one of their items, you know that you are buying something special that no one else else has. Lastly, rather than wholesaling to larger stores, IOU plans on selling directly through their website, passing on the savings to the consumer, and paying the artisans who create the product a higher wage. The result is a vibrant, colorful, and completely hand-crafted collection which can be worn individually, or paired together to create a mad mix of prints.
While the aim of the project isn't necessarily to cut down on consumption, it does make us think about how we can become more conscientious about what we consume. I know that I won't stop buying clothes I don't need, but I'm learning to really ruminate over my purchases before hand, cutting out things that I might tire of after one season, as well as taking a moment to consider where the clothes came from and what conditions they were produced under. That said, I'm really looking forward to the launch of IOU this month. Take a moment to watch the wonderful little video they put together explaining their mission.
Sunday, May 8, 2011