Why Blockchain Technology is Essential for Sustainable Fashion Industry

Blockchain Technology

The blockchain technology is not new for us. Whenever you talk about this technology the first thing which comes into mind is “Bitcoin”. As this technology is supporting all financial transaction of this virtual currency which became hot in past few years. Due to its exclusive feature of virtual payments, the blockchain technology became equally popular in other sectors too. As the said feature of payment overcome the lots of hassle of the businessmen, financial institutions etc.

What is Blockchain Technology?

The blockchain technology was invented by Satoshi Nakamoto in year 2009. As described earlier, it was made to facilitate the users of Bitcoin to make and receive payments through this technology. By using this technology, the users can make payments without involving any central bank or other financial intuition. With the passage of time, the blockchain technology is also using for other businesses and cryptocurrencies for virtual payments purpose.

In simple language, we can say it’s a set of databases which are connected with each other. And whenever, the user enters information in any database. It will update rest of the connected relevant databases automatically which are stored in different hard drives around the globe. There is no centralized storage in blockchain technology. And the data normally stores into different hard drives and servers of different countries or cities. So, the probability of data hacking is almost zero in this case of data storage. The synchronization process of the databases normally works through internet. The set of databases are called blocks and the link between these blocks is called chain. So, this is how the blockchain technology works and facilitating its users all over the world.

The scope and usage of blockchain technology is spreading in other industries too. There are so many industries like food, transportation, manufacturing and services where you can see successful implementation of this technology. This flexible technology not only improves the way of working in the said industries. Along with that it is also eliminated so many steps of documentations or complex file system through unique digitizing system. As the usage of digital identification of product/services, shipment tracking and smart contracts are proves of success of this technology.

Blockchain Technology in Fashion Industry:

As we discussed in our number of previous articles that sustainable practices are the need of present era. And the transparency of manufacturing and supply chain in fashion industry is a main ingredient for sustainable process. The blockchain technology also supports the fashion players in their sustainable product or service goal. Through this technology, the retailer can easily track its goods any time from manufacturing facility to the warehouse. Not only this, they can also track it further distribution means from warehouse to their point of sale. And the same information is also available for the end consumer to know better about life-story of their favorite brand.

There is no doubt that most of the famous brands are really worried about the counterfeiting of their hot articles. There are number of organized set ups which are totally dependent upon these type of illegal activities. They keep an eye on the upcoming range of the famous brands. And share the same material with their manufacturers for copy purpose. Their manufacturing counterpart copies the sent articles and dispatches the bulk quantity to them through swift means (by air). As these products are not only unethical but also not conforms the optimum quality standards. Besides brands, even consumer are also confuse during purchase that whether they are buying original or not? In blockchain technology, a consumer can easily access the complete information about the selected garment. So, it gives them a confident and proper verification that they are buying original brand owned product.

Why Blockchain Technology in Fashion Industry?

There some other tracking systems too exist into the market which can do the same job effectively. So, the question is why we need another new technology for the same purpose? Actually, the distinguish thing in blockchain technology is that the data can’t be altered or changed later on. Once the information is entered and stored then it would remain intact for end consumer in its original form. Like we described earlier, the information is stored in different block forms which are linked and stored in different locations. Since there is no central body involves into this so no one has the rights to alter the original information. So, the supplier or retailer can’t change the same later on. Further, the history log of all entries is also generating automatically and normally accessible to relevant entities for review.

Furthermore, the companies are also more curious to know the after buying feedback or experience of their loyal consumers. The surveys and researches are not the only medium to make decision of new or customized products. So, the fashion companies are now making contracts with tech companies to help them in this category. The famous outdoor apparel company “L.L.Bean” is taking help from Loomia’s blockchain technology for this. As Loomia will share the client’s data to L.L.Bean so that they could develop a better product for its clients. Here, we can’t ignore Martine Jarlgaard and Babyghost who considered and adopted this technology in year 2017. And the main motive behind this adoption was just to educate their consumer about the product manufacturing and its transportation. And there is no doubt; such transparency initiative through technology by these brands gives more confidence/loyalty in their consumers.

Our Input and Analysis:

The blockchain technology was originally made for virtual currency (Bitcoin). Till to date, the most of the countries of the world didn’t regulate this type of virtual currency. There is still need to do so many steps like how to certify the providers and platforms of this currency. If we see its application in fashion industry then it’s not fully conform the requirements of this industry. This is why, the apparel companies were just attracted and adopted this technology a few before (year 2017). And there are so many things which need to transform in the current technology according to their own industry. And for this the companies have to hire the developers to make the application according to their process. So, the main element is cost, which is really important when you are going to adopt this new technology.

Furthermore, if this technology is adopt by the most of the organizations. Then the other challenges would also arise of data protections, secrecy etc. Although, theoretically it is proved that the data hacking is not possible. Even then there is need to do certain steps and define protocols about the data protections. Because, before going into massive usage of this technology, the question regarding data protection may be arise. As there should be any organization who could take the responsibility of data protection. Secondly, the cost element will also be a main barrier in successful adoption. If this technology is not cost effective then chances of success or overall potential may be less than expectations. So, the transformation process and especially the running-cost of blockchain technology should be as cheap as possible. And after this, there is a chance that the scope and potential of this technology would be enhanced.

If You Love Environment, You’ll Love Transparency

If You Love Environment, You’ll Love Transparency

The sustainable fashion approach introduced in late 1980s and early 1990s by famous companies named Patagonia and ESPRIT. Although the focus of both companies regarding sustainability is different yet the motive was just to save environment. Today, the fashion world is emphasizing on one word which is “transparency”. Each and every big brand is focusing on the same and trying to transform its processes accordingly. As per the recent research, more than 100 big fashion brands which belong to 42 companies are now publishing their supplier’s list. The brand’s commitment towards transparency in last 18 months is really substantial. Before discussing further that who is following the transparency standard or not. First we should know this thing what is the actually meaning of transparency in textile and apparel sector.

In order to have a better control on environmental friendly manufacturing standards that whether it is completely following or not. The transparency of each and every steps is really essential. And for the sake of this, all the manufacturing concern needs to show their complete supplier list from where they are sourcing product materials. Not only this, they will have to show the method through which the whole shipment transit from manufacturing concern to store. In-short, the transparency of each and every step of product from order placement till product shelfing at POS is required.

Environment Friendly Initiatives:

The revolutionary trend noticed by 40 famous fashion brands in 2016. And out of which, 05 brands publicize their manufacturers list and 02 of them also publicize their fabric, yarn suppliers. Not only this, these 106 brands have already publicized some of their production or processing facilities. Here is a slight overview on the efforts of the giants towards environment sustainability:

Tesco:

The UK’s largest retailer Tesco has already released its complete supplier’s list. Not only this, they are also working really hard to eliminate all the hazardous chemicals from its brand named F&F. They are trying their level best to conform and strictly follow the “Greenpeace” campaign for better environment.

Marks & Spencer:

The UK famous brand and retailer launch a system which enables their products to conform the required sustainability process. And this system will be fully operational till 2019 which permits their clients to identify their sustainable products easily. And till 2025, they have plan to publicize their product sustainability report for their clients and general public.

ASOS:

The British brand ASOS management is focusing on water pollution as well as recycling issue.  As per company’s target, they will reduce carbon, water and waste footprint of ASOS clothing by 2020. For water and recycling issue, they are closely working with their suppliers, organizing ethical programs and establishing ethical trade partnerships. Along with that, they are among those signatories (Bestseller, Eileen Fisher and Marks & Spencer) who sign a public pledge which explain a circular strategy for setting sustainability targets for 2020.

Wrangler:

An American fashion brand’s effort towards environment sustainability is tremendous. After saving 03 billion liters water from denim washing, now they will support US farmers through pilot program. As per their announcement in Detroit conference, this program will support the farmers to improve the sustainable growing exercises.

Levi & Strauss:

The Levi’s is making infinite efforts towards sustainability of natural resources. The co.’s recent investment of US$ 350,000 shows the management dedication and commitment towards sustainable apparel industry. They work extensively with their collaborators on different sustainable apparel industry projects. And these projects include, waste-water treatment solution, less water consuming products and expanding the natural indigo dyeing facility.

VF Corporation:

VF Corporation, a global leader in branded lifestyle apparel, footwear and accessories, recently released its Animal Derived Materials (ADM) policy. As per the policy, its brands (Lee, The North Face and Timberland) will no longer use fur, angora or exotic leather in their products. As per Letitia Webster, VF’s Vice President of Global Corporate Sustainability, “VF believes that all animals within the global commercial supply chain should be treated with care and respect,” As per co.’s recent partnership with Humane Society International that outlines which animal materials are prohibited. It also set a formal guideline for the procurement and use of approved materials by the company’s brands and global supply chain partners.

Aldi, Lidle & Others:

The recent research study by “Greenpeace” verified the commitment of German chain stores towards hazardous chemical free environment. As per the report, the big chain stores, Aldi, Lidl, Rewe, Penny, Kaufland, and Tchibo are meeting their targets for treating and removing the potentially hazardous chemicals. And as per “Greenpeace”, there is still lot of work yet to be done for this cause.

C&A:

The global famous retailer C&A already step up into transparency campaign. It has already disclosed the detail of its +2000 manufacturing suppliers which are located in more than 40 countries. This information includes factory’s name (tier1 & tier2 production units), addresses, number of workers and main product category. This new report is now online for its customers and general public. This is an enormous step of fashion giant towards transparency and sustainability cause.

Hugo Boss:

As per ZDHC (Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals) announcement, April 26, 2017, seven new entries into its program, including premium fashion brand Hugo Boss.  Hugo Boss and the other new six entries, commit to work collaboratively on the development and implementation of ZDHC tools. And these include: a Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL)Chemical Guidance Sheets and Wastewater GuidelinesHugo Boss enters ZDHC as signatory brand contributor. So, as per its membership, the company is forecasting a great control on production/supply chain process for betterment of environment.

Bestseller:

The Danish apparel retailer is also the part of sustainable textile community which publicizes their supplier information to general public. As per company, more than 35% of their cotton comes from more sustainable sources.  And they continuously work to integrate regenerated or responsibly sourced fibers in their products. This August, 2017, they are partnering with UNLEASH to bring together 1,000 global talents to solve the world’s most pressing problems. The hiring of 11 talents which represents Bestseller at UNLEASH, will find out more ways that how Bestseller can play role in global issues.

Filippa K:

Swedish apparel brand Filippa K is teaming up new two year project with Mistra Future Fashion. As per the project, they will research, develop and test new designs for 100% circular fashion garments. This project is leading by Professor Rebecca Earley and Dr Kate Goldsworthy of University of the Arts London. The aim of the initiative is to help consumers to become more sustainable about fashion. “We want to be able to enjoy fashion and update our wardrobes in a conscious way,” said Elin Larsson, sustainability director Filippa K.

Closing Thoughts:

The main motive behind above efforts and targets is just to clean the environment from toxic and hazardous chemicals. And try to clean the water and our planet from the pollution of manufacturing concern as well as supply chain. The transparency in processes is a best approach through which we can move forward towards green world. And everyone should realize his/her role for this sacred purpose. As this goal can only achieve if we join hands together against this massive issue.