How Blockchain Can Set The Hottest New Trend In Fashion.
The use of blockchain can help in tracking of a fashion cycle from manufacturing to distribution to end use.
If you are an avid fashionista with your eyes perpetually trained on the runways and red carpets, you may think you have gotten your annual fashion fix from this year’s Met Gala. But guess what, the hottest new trend in fashion is actually being set by the simple yet sassy blockchain!
A blockchain-based platform will now be used to track luxury fashion items, from top LVMH brands such as Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton. This new platform, Aura, is expected to be glitzy, glamorous and fun, while being inherently utilitarian. Honestly, this brand new use case proves for me what I have always known:
“Blockchain can work wonders for the fashion industry.”
The Microsoft-ConsenSys initiative is meant to ensure the authenticity of luxury fashion apparels and accessories by verifying the certification and originality of the products. While this makes sure that high-end consumers are getting their money’s worth, I would like to focus on how blockchain can make fashion accessible, reliable and trackable for the ordinary consumer, because the industry is clearly much more than the devils who wears Prada.
Why Does Fashion Need Blockchain?
The fashion industry is a crowded place and any piece of apparel or accessory must pass through a lot of different people to find its way into the hands of the consumer.
There will be designers, raw material suppliers, tailors, manufacturers, retailers and more players involved and the moment even a single cog of the wheel malfunctions, the whole system stands to be affected.
Given the number of stakeholders that are involved, a trust deficit is quite inevitable in this scenario.
As you find it hard to keep track of all the things being woven together, a system like blockchain, which does not need you to trust a central entity, can help you find a way out.
Blockchain spells different benefits for different people in the fashion scene.
For an artist or a person who has put in some kind of intellectual labour behind the creation of a unique product, blockchain is a means to track their intellectual property rights over what they have created.
For an end user, it provides a reliable and authentic way to know where an apparel has been made, how the raw materials have been sourced, how it has travelled the length of the supply chain to finally come into their hands.
If you are a responsible shopper who cares about buying sustainable fashion, blockchain can be your best friend in saving the planet, one “slow fashion” accessory at a time.
Moreover, blockchain can track the movement of a product right from the manufacturer’s factory to the hands of a consumer. This traceability can then ensure how authentic a particular product is.
This is basically what the AURA platform plans to do and I am sure more platforms will soon come up to deal further blows to counterfeiters.
Considering how frequently branded products are duped and sold at lower prices for mass consumption, it is imperative for consumers to know what exactly they are spending their hard-earned money on.
A suggestion of incorporating chips that can be sewn in for identification purposes, has also been doing the rounds for a while now. I think that such a move will be particularly clever way of making use of smart contract functionalities and making traceability and digital ownership a breeze. Most retail products come with scannable labels today, and if they can be integrated with the use of smart contracts, the fashion industry will enjoy major benefits in terms of tracking and ownership.
For businesses selling fashion products (or anything else, really), the benefits of blockchain are rather obvious. From tracking inventory to managing the supply chain, the ledger comes in handy every step along the way.
Large fashion brands that have a lot of retail locations often have a nightmarish experience as far as inventory management is concerned. It often proves to be impossibly difficult to juggle the data about changing stocks coming in from multiple locations. Instead of maintaining several different databases, blockchain can allow all participant shops to work with the same ledger and make inventory management a much smoother process.
Besides boosting the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the supply side of things with sterling skill, blockchain can help the industry on a lot of other fronts. One of them is establishing provenance. In fashion, a lot of products are frequently associated with a specific culture or place and command a higher price when curated from such an authentic and celebrated source.
Take the case of Kashmiri Shawls for example. A shawl coming directly from the Indian state of Kashmir will naturally command a higher price than a Cashmere Shawl manufactured in China. Customers, in order to pay that higher price, must know that they are getting their money’s worth.For that reason, it becomes particularly important to use a blockchain to track and trace provenance. With such capabilities, the fashion industry can also curate a brand story around particular fashion lines to capture the attention of end consumers.
Apart from authenticity it is also very important for brands to make clothing that appeals to a wider audience in terms of fitting and design. Mostly brands have their own standard sizing which is being used worldwide.
But in many cases these standard size charts are not considered as ideal for many body types. However, US-based startup brand, Samshék who are working on customisation, are providing their clients with clothes that are specifically made in their size
A Decentralised Ledger, with a complete database that keeps a record of customer’s measurements according to every body shape and body type, will prove beneficial for the industry as well as to the end user as well. Such brands working on customisation and providing their clients with clothes that are specifically made in their size will already have the records of this database.
The concept of making custom-made clothing was prevalent in the early 1800’s and is now again making a comeback. Samshek, delivers custom-made outfits and delivers in 48 Hours from store and works on digital inventory and has primary data of all the customer measurements in terms of their height, weight, bust, waist, hips.
In other words they can provide a complete data analysis of a human body which is organic and in return can be used as a source to eradicate the problems faced due to fitting and measurements. If this data can be encrypted in the form of blockchain, it can be proved beneficial:
For the consumer, it is a reliable way to understand their own body shape and measurements and make a relevant purchase when it comes to sizing and fitting.
For commercial aspects it will prove helpful for the fashion industry where they can actually make clothing for a more realistic body type and their audience reach will automatically witness a boost.
Another aspect of blockchain, that actually makes it my favourite emerging technology, is its decentralized nature. With the distributed ledger in place, it becomes possible to make any market decentralized.
Aside from just having mega fashion houses catering to the public’s fashion needs, the market can then have more peer-to-peer exchanges taking place. This is particularly conducive for providing fashion rental services, buying and selling of novelty items and even second hand products.
Having a distributed and decentralized ledger helps take care of needs that may have remained untapped in a world of centralised control over fashion production and retail.
Fashion today is more of a social phenomenon than it has ever been before, thanks to the plethora of social media apps you can use to access the latest “looks” of celebrities.
With people’s ever-growing interest in the #instalife, the influencer culture has also found its way into the age-old fashion industry. Giving a boost to the relatability factor of brands and their products and putting out well-placed advertisements to their social media followers, influencers are people you absolutely cannot ignore if you’re hoping to make it big here, and blockchain can possibly help you reach out to them too. With platforms like Instagram and Pinterest available at the tips of people’s fingers, to give them their daily dose of aesthetics, the number of influencers seems to be shooting up way too fast. Using blockchain-based crypto tokens to reimburse and compensate influencers within a decentralized ecosystem can become possible.
As fall approaches and fashion houses give it their all to churn out their trendiest best, they might want to check out this top tech too. From supply chain management to omnichannel branding, blockchain is capable of transforming several aspects of this intricate world of fashion, style and sales.
It’s time to take this tech trend and turn it into a classic, and you simply can’t afford to miss out.