IOU is a Madrid based ethical fashion venture which has just launched. The difference with IOU is their pioneering use of social media and internet. The journey starts in Tamil Nadu, India, where artisan weavers produce hand woven madras check cotton. Each weaver needs 4 or 5 days to produce an eight metre roll of fabric. Hand woven cotton is not only environmentally friendly, but provides sustainable jobs for artisan groups. The fabric is then turned into garments and accessories at manufacturers in Europe.
IOU has no physical retail presence and will, for the time being, be relying on internet sales. When you log onto the website http://iouproject.com/shop/ you will be able to see all of the great products they are offering. Every piece has a link to its ‘journey’ so you can find out who made the fabric and where the item was manufactured. Each item is also identifiable by a QR (quick response) code, not something that is new now, but its use in the fashion industry is very limited. Tracking the supply chain is something which a number of ethical retailers now provide online, Made-By has an online ‘track and trace’ system for tracking products by Jackpot, Pure, Kuyichi and others, for example. But the unique feature of IOU is the opportunity for two-way communication. Consumers of the products can take a picture of themselves wearing it and upload it to the site to allow the artisan producers to see their creations being enjoyed.
IOU will also be relying on social media to lead to sales. Individuals, like you and me, can become sellers for the project by having our own ‘trunk sale’. More information is available on the site, but these sellers will publicise the products through facebook, twitter and blogs to gain commission on all sales they generate.
IOU have some lovely products, for men and women. Each item is slightly unique and supports artisan producers in India. It’s great to see an ethical brand really focusing on innovation and creating new links to reach consumers.