IOU Project: Social Technology Meets Artisanal Tradition
By Maria Popova
“Transparency.” “Accountability.” “Sustainability.” “Authenticity.” In recent years, these moral ideas have been reduced to fluff-phrases empty of meaning, sprinkled atop just about every Fortune 500 corporate mission statement like some sort of odor-masking miracle candy on a sundae of bollocks. But what if they were to be taken in untainted hands, looked at with new eyes, resurrected with new spirit?
That’s what IOU Project is out to do. They produce handmade apparel from fabrics hand-woven in India. Because each textile is unique, you can trace the production process of your particular garment right back to the exact weaver who hand-wove the fabric using the IOU mobile app. The project is part storytelling experiment, part ecommerce venture, part social meeting place for a community that shares these values of authenticity and purpose, bridging centuries-old artisanal traditions with the promise of modern social technology.
In the rush to automate the world, artisans are being replaced with machines.”
Besides having what’s easily the most thoughtful visual identity we’ve seen in a while, IOU also features a number of beautifully filmed, warmly candid videos that capture the people and process behind the project.
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Published April 14, 2011