Kavita Parmar is the founder and creative director of the IOU Project. Now based in Madrid, and coming from a family with old ties in the textile manufacturing tradition in India, she started her own design studio at the age of 18, while still in university. Three years later with the local license for Oshkosh B’Gosh, an American children’s apparel company, she opened 14 shops all over India. During the next five years she designed, developed and produced pieces for European and American brands. After living in London, Singapore, Hong Kong and New York, she moved to Madrid and started her own collection as the RAASTA brand.
Despite success as a designer, Ms. Parmar grew frustrated that the fashion system did not nurture “BIG Design”. Rather than designing production around an eco-system and making it sustainable, and protecting and actively promoting excellent craftsmanship and artisanship, she felt the fashion industry had become a race to produce faster and cheaper, not better. Societal concerns, she believed, were largely ignored. Consequently in late 2010 she decided to create a collection for her Madrid store that took into account first and foremost, the needs of the artisans – then mainly in India, while giving the client a well-crafted article made specifically for them.
Through the IOU Project commerce has moved from a simple buying and selling of goods to a bringing together of people who celebrate artisanship and good design.
The approach taken by the IOU Project in the fashion industry is already being applied by Ms. Parmar in the manufacture of shoes and home goods.