You might not have paid very much attention to the Blockchain discussion because “it’s not my business”. Nowadays, this expression is out of date, as we are all deeply interrelated in most different work fields, and technology has been the glue that connects everything, everywhere.
Blockchain is a database where blocks of information are linked in an automated and safe system (cryptographic principles), with no owner or authority, and open to everyone. It means that the data storage can’t be corrupted or hacked, and all transactions are free.
We are still in the infancy of Blockchain, like at the beginning of the internet. There are some unexplored opportunities to create with Blockchain, and we have not figured out all that we can do with it. This talk from #BoFVoices, by Ken Seiff and Peter Smith, can explain it perfectly—if you have 24 minutes available, it’s worth watching.
It is widely known by the crypto-currencies, like Bitcoin, but its use does not remain within the financial system. Based on the principle of decentralization, companies are exploring Blockchain to guarantee transparency and a vision of a democratized system. But—there is always a but—it can also lead to privacy issues, exposing sensitive data.
The first thing that comes to our minds about fashion and Blockchain is supply chain and inventory management. With this kind of technology, the industry can assure full transparency, with open information from the producers to the customers.
Like many other industries with sustainability challenges, and with the growing consumer demand for ethical resources, fashion is opening the door to let Blockchain change the way we treat our information. This article from Entrepreneur Europe debates how Blockchain can address the tremendous waste produced by the fashion industry.
For luxury brands, the must-have of this Blockchain season is authenticity. The same way we can guarantee transparency from producers, we can use technology to track luxury goods, and prove they are authentic. This has been a longtime problem for Louis Vuitton, ignited by resale e-commerce. That is why they are investing in a platform called Aura. Kering is doing a similar approach, advising a non-profit project called Arianee. The promise? Safeguard the authenticity of luxury goods in a market flooded with strikingly similar fakes. You can read more about it in this BoF article.
Startups all over the world are shaping the way we are going to use blockchain in the fashion industry in the coming years.
Loomia is a tech company from NYC which is enhancing smart textiles through blockchain. Provenance is a blockchain software company that is helping fashion labels get a grip on their raw materials. In Portugal, the HUUB is changing logistics in Europe, connecting small and medium industries to retailers, and blockchain is on their road map to help them conquer the fashion industry worldwide.
VeChain creates a digital trace of physical items, backed up by the blockchain. Each item is given a unique ID, which is paired with either a NFC chip or a QR code, depending on the client’s requirements. Lukso is an open blockchain ecosystem for fashion companies to build applications on, making those projects inter-operable, leading to a larger network, and providing a decentralized innovation and trust infrastructure.
Faizod created a global supply chain, linking finance, manufacturing, and sub-contractors, and allowing them to seamlessly interact with each other, while providing complete transparency on how products are made, moved and paid for. Fashion Coin is re-imagining an ecosystem where a customer can connect directly with designers, stylists, models, photographers, influencers and other members involved in garment production.
One of the extensive possibilities still undiscovered for Blockchain lies in the art field. Now original artworks can have a registry of ownership that will aide in authentication, thereby increasing their value. The Foundation for Art and Blockchain provides grants and other support to projects working at the intersection of Blockchain and creativity. The artists can create with mixed media, using the Blockchain technology as a theme or as the technique itself, in digital art, 3D printing, traditional canvas, and more.
The possibilities for blockchain in fashion seem limitless. We are still getting to know this new approach to technology and information. Our research into blockchain is ongoing and constantly in the exploratory phase.
Do you want to contribute? Do you know of any other fashion-related blockchain project that should be listed here? Send it to us: firstname.lastname@example.org