Sunday, May 8, 2011

You Owe It To Yourself

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.


Stumble Upon Toolbar


Izzy said...

Great concept. Practical, realistic expectations, and to be honest, I'm a little tired of fashion companies using green-ness as another cheap marketing ploy. Oh and the lookbook is nicely styled!

Idee Fixe ( said...

Fantastic! I love the video, and the concept, I hope they prosper as well as those they seek to help! Thanks for posting about them! As far as cutting back on consumption levels go, I started by weaning myself off stuff I didn't need, things that I wouldn't want to wear more than a season. I started about 10 years ago and slowly made changes. Several years ago I realised how easy it had become, and rarely have to think about whether it's an item that deserves space in my wardrobe. One of the things that does help to keep things fresh are things like accessories and jewellery, which can go on season after season even though the "trend" is over. If I love it I wear it, trends be damned! So while you may feel like you're contributing in a negative way to consumption levels, you're also helping those of us who are cutting back by offering items that will perk up our wardrobes for years to come! You can change your consumer habits, just always keep in the back of your mind if this is a piece that deserves space in your wardrobe for years to come and see how easy it is to put away those impulse buys! Good luck!

Birkenstock sandals shoes said...

I don't care for the guys styles here, but the girls styles and wonderful. I wish they had these in my little enclave of Maine. Here, you can buy redneck beer and coke t shirts. In my home in Rio de janeiro, the styles are more like these here and more. I miss it so much.


Wear The Canvas said...

beautiful! concept and design! I love the plaids and those colors.

naomi said...

this is incredible!!!

MissNeira said...

Those red pants are fab! love it

Miss Neira

t h e l i n e s h e e t said...

I love this post. I have a similar philosophy! It is sad that the fashion industry is more about consumption than producing beautiful garments. However, the designers that do so play an important role in people's lives and are truly necessary!

Brandon said...

OMG I love Idee Fixe's comment. That is so sweet. Tiffany you're designs are lovely and I don't think trend driven and yes they help spice up the wardrobes of people who have slowed down and become more thoughtful of their consumptions. Bravo!

On a side note I do think you are doing a great job with both goals, your Triskadekaphobias (???) collections get better season upon season and I still loved how intricate some of your pieces are now. Your jewelry is more like wearable sculpture then adding to the waste pile so don't think that you are!

Love you