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Blockchain Use- Cases: Fashion Industry Edition

When glamour meets tech, the corollary is very widely accepted by people all over the world even though tech-enabled fabric would cost a little extra. Most of the big brands today are changing the course of conventional fashion towards a more outré fashion. Recently Levis launched a SUPER DOPE smart jacket in collaboration with Google specially for people who commute on a bike. It costs $350 yet it is gaining a lot of popularity. You can listen to music, enable google maps, answer phone calls and enable text on your jacket while on-go.

As I see it, the entire culture is shifting its pace and methods to infuse technology and related trends with it. The new way to survive is to adopt technology. Probably this is why most sports gear brands (like Nike) endorse themselves as more of a tech company than an apparel company. Nike is constantly coming up with radical solutions with state-of-the-art sensors to measure heart rate, speed, calories burnt, distance run while performing any activity.

The above case study was a typical example of the Internet of Things (IoT) in fashion. Let’s see how Artificial Intelligence (AI) can revolutionise fashion. When I walk into Marks & Spencer, I see a myriad of options not knowing where to go. Also, FOMO clouds my judgment. What would it be like if M&S installs a kiosk in every section where customer can choose the type of fabric they want, the colour, the size et al — and the kiosk tells the customer what the store currently holds! It is like shopping on a mobile app but being physically in the store.

Blockchain critics love to replace blockchain with a regular database even in the most perfect of use cases. What makes blockchain unique is that the data once written onto the ledger can’t ever be changed. It won’t change even if God wants it to change. This means, nobody is more powerful than the other in a blockchain world. Only truth will triumph. Secondly, it is truly decentralised and distributed in nature so everyone can see what exactly is going on. There is NO centralised authority responsible to share the data. This means nobody owns the data. This concept is super powerful when people with dirty hands try to change “facts” just because they can.

Blockchain’s novelty engenders from its unique ability to bridge the gap between the physical world and digital world (tokenization) to create a REAL digital identity on the blockchain. Often, a cryptographic hash or “serial number” is the primary physical identifier which can be traced back to the product. This concept precludes manufacturing of counterfeit items because a “fake” hash can’t be generated.

There are so many social activist groups lambasting big fashion brands for harming animals, the environment, or for unethical practices. A lot of consumers are also chary of buying anything that is made of animal skin. So, how about a concept where users know where exactly is the product they are purchasing coming from? Imagine the information about the history of provenance is just a QR code scan away?

So many talented people dwell in remote places making intricate fabrics of great value. Most of the time, large fashion brands hire these poor people at a very low wage. This is practically exploiting people in an oppressive way.

In 2017, London designer Martine Jarlgaard, in collaboration with the blockchain company Provenance, took the initiative to produce the unprecedented “smart labels”. The consumer can scan the clothing item to see every step in the production process ranging from raw material to final product. This kind of transparency will likely be a selling point for consumers who increasingly want to know how and where their clothes are made.

At the end of the tunnel, there’s light. Likewise, the end result of blockchain is to integrate and include people in the economy who have been neglected till now. A dApp can be created for the people who are living in a deplorable condition to give them a livelihood. Since blockchain enables P2P trade inherently, there is no need for middlemen in the middle. People can directly buy from people rather than the brands. This would certainly take production back to the local, distributed hubs.

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