Whenever people ask me about a great sustainable style project, I mention the IOU Project. It brings together so many of the problems of conventional clothing production today and pretty much solves them all, and does it in the most elegant, beautiful way, connecting consumers to their clothes in a way that hasn't been done before. And prices that are competitive with what mall stores charge ($85 for a shirt, $89 - $125 for a dress, $69 for shorts). The best way to show you how it works is to let the IOU Project do it for me:
For each piece of (on-trend, totally classic-cool) clothing on IOU's site that you click on, a unique story is revealed. "Each item tells us a story," IOU's narrative begins. "This one begins in a small village in Tamil Nadu, India." You are then introduced to the man in India who weaves the cloth for a cute plaid shirt, for example. (I want this one for my boyfriend). The weaver has a name: Dhandapani M., and a picture of an older but vital man smiling into the camera identifies him as the human being who makes the creative decision about what plaid to create in what colors. (He knows what he's doing as India is, after all, the source of the real Madras plaids). Dhandapani's father taught him to weave when he was 13, and now he and his wife work together to create fabric for shirts. "I am also a grandpa and when I'm not working I most enjoy playing with my grandson," he says. We learn that he is inspired by the colors of the natural world and that it takes him about two days to weave a new design.