Monday, May 16, 2011

Centuries Old Weaving Meets Internet Marketing

A new website combines ethical fashion weaving and social media.

The IOU Project offers scarves, shirts, dresses and each item is unique and identified by its own QR code.

'With each piece of clothing there is a link called "This item's journey" that leads to pictures and profiles of the weaver who created the fabric and of the artisan who cut the material and created the design. Using the IOU Project's iPhone app, you can take a photo of the QR code to pull that story up again.

You can also snap a photo of yourself and upload it so that the weaver and the artisan can see their creation being worn by someone out in the world -- helping to complete the story.'

Each item is unique because it starts with one particular piece of hand-woven cotton fabric measuring about 8 meters by 6.25 meters. They are collected from weavers in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, where the craft has been practiced for centuries. A weaver needs four or five days to produce one.

From there it goes to a participating manufacturer in Europe where individual items are cut from a particular madras check, ensuring no two items are quite the same.

'With IOU an individual can become a reseller of any particular item. First you apply to become a "trunk show host." When applying you share your real contact details and links to your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn profiles. This kind of hosting will surely spread the appeal of the fair trade type endeavour.'

View an engaging introduction of the project here.