Fashion Blockchain – Critical To The Future Of Fashion – WTVOX

By on January 21, 2020

Fashion Blockchain – The issue with fashion is that some get it, and some don’t. But that’s just fine as fashion trends and styles are not for everybody. However, one thing is for sure. Fashionable or not, wearing clothes is required by law. Irrespective of gender, age, political views or religion, we all must wear clothes in public.

While the requirement of wearing clothes in public might never change, as the fashion industry develops, the garments we wear and their composite materials keep evolving and improving as well.

From the dawn of civilisation – when animal skins and leaves were the only garments we had – to the modern era of smart, innovative, cruelty-free and sustainable fabrics, fashion has come a long way.

A Global Fashion Blockchain

Fashion Technology show

Hussein Chalayan showcasing smart never-before-seen glasses and belts, powered by Intel in Paris Fashion Week.

Half a decade ago, the advent of wearable technology and smart sensors seemed to take the fashion industry to the next level. Designed to interact collect personal data and interact with the surrounding environment, the future of intelligent or ‘connected fashion‘ seemed brighter than ever. And yet, it never took off.

The failure of connected fashion could be easily attributed to the designer’s lack of fashion design skills. You see, these fashion tech enthusiasts were first and foremost tech-heads, rather than well-established designers of apparel. Ignoring consumer behaviour was another key contributor to the failure of connected garments. 

Tech-heads fashion

MIT Wearable Computing Project members in the 1990s

I’ve covered the subject in many of my previous articles, and will most likely cover it again, especially now, when it seems that a new wave of fashion-tech designers is emerging. But, apart from ignoring consumer behaviour, the basics of fashion design, there was another missing link — a functional one called the blockchain. 

Before we start, let’s define ‘blockchain’, in simple terms. A blockchain is a list of records. A ledger, if you like, where the data is recorded in linked blocks.

These blocks are linked together and secured using advanced cryptography. Each block contains a hash pointer – as a link to a previous block – a timestamp, transaction data, and user-defined info.

Moreover, by design, blockchains are temper-resistant. Therefore, once the data has been recorded, it can no longer be modified. So why is a fashion blockchain so relevant to the fashion industry in general, and the future of smart garments in particular?

Fashion Blockchain Stop Counterfeiting and Greenwashing

Fashion Blockchain to stop luxury counterfeiting

From a fashion industry point of view, a unified fashion blockchain will keep accounts of all garments, shoes, accessories, ever sold. It will help with recording materials’ origin and provenience, ending greenwashing and consequently, stop fraud and product counterfeiting.

To conscious consumers, fashion blockchain is the holy grail. To see if the dress you’re about to buy is genuine, eco-friendly, and cruelty-free (as advertised), all you’ll have to do is scan the label with your smartphone.

But, there’s so much more we can do with a fashion blockchain, and we’ll exemplify that in the case of smart, connected garments.

Digital Profiles On Blockchain – The Story of Avery

Blockchain technology in fashion

The story starts with Avery Dennison – world’s number one supplier of care labels, and a company that counts Nike, Hugo Boss, and Under Armour amongst its vast clientele.

As Avery wants to track billions of care labels, it ships to brands all over the world, to ensure there’s no counterfeiting, the most suitable solution would be a global blockchain provider.

On the blockchain, Avery can record the type of the tag, company name, garment type, size, provenience and types of material used, product warranty, expiry date, and even the manufacturing or retail price, in a highly secure and immutable kind of platform. 

Avery Blockchain

Moreover, as blockchains are scalable and customisable by nature, any future innovations would be easy to implement, and that takes us to Avery’s next-generation of the care label. A label able to collect environmental, GPS, and biometrics data.

A label that knows if it’s cold, raining or snowing outside. And, as the label is in close contact with your skin, it knows if you’re sick, in danger, or lost, appending this data, in real-time, to your digital twin profile, also located on the blockchain.

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When you buy a new jumper or pair of shoes, the smart care label turns on, and syncs with your digital profile – stored on the blockchain – ‘in a heartbeat’, pun intended. 

The label uses your heartbeat to identify and connect to your blockchain-based digital profile. Once connected, it starts sending surrounding and biometric data.

Your Bra Has Called The Doctor

Wearable technology fashion

With the help of a smart label, connected garments, shoes, or accessories will collect your biometric data, placing it on the blockchain on your immutable account, which will become the gateway and central point of monitoring and maintenance.

When the data sent by your shoes to the blockchain triggers a flag, your doctor is warned that something wrong is about to happen. It will prevent you from having a heart attack and diagnose cancer before it manifests, all in real-time.

VeChain Blockchain

I have chosen VeChain to exemplify the potential of a fashion blockchain, as the company has approached prestigious luxury houses in Europe for similar projects to the one described here.

However, given the size of its blocks, VeChain’s blockchain is limited to NFC labels, customised and embossed to physical goods. Moreover, while not being against or pro Bitcoin SV, unbiased research shows that this blockchain scales and nChain (the development company behind BSV) has a better alternative to the NFC technology.

Bitcoin SV

Similar Read: The History Of Wearable Technology – Past, Present And Future

nChain’s BSV fashion blockchain has ample ‘room’ for smart labels to collect and store, not just end-to-end product and lifecycle management data, but also billions of users’ biometric data, and, talking about the next wave of AR/VR fashion, lots of experiential content.

In fact, the adoption of a fashion blockchain in conjunction with smart labels is crucial in ensuring the adoption and development of augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI), not only in fashion but in general.

Virtual Fashion using Artificial Intelligence

The world’s first digital couture created by The Fabricant and worn by Johanna Jaskowska

In the case of using AR and mixed reality in fashion, a fashion blockchain on 5G would instantly grant the user access to a brand’s story and heritage, artisans at work and the materials used, provenience, warranty, and how to best care for the product.

Following the fashion blockchain and smart label merger, your sneakers will soon be able ‘talk’ to you via an SMS pointing to a handbag malfunction. A regular maintenance prompt via WhatsApp messenger. Or, an email instructing how to recycle your shoes at the end of their life.

Role of Blockchain Technology

Samrt yarn developed by Harvard university

The idea of smart labels is nothing new. Developed by researchers at Harvard University, over a decade ago, smart tags are already present in smartphones, food, toys, and even humans.

“Here we demonstrate a simple process of transforming general cotton threads into intelligent e-textiles using a polyelectrolyte-based coating with carbon nanotubes…to detect albumin, key proteins, blood, with high accuracy.” Nano Letters, vol. 8. Issue 12, pp. 4151-4157. December 2008; Wearable Fabrics For Human Biomonitoring.

What’s new here is the blockchain technology. It provides an immutable ledger ready for a new era smart tags that can collect granular data, write and synchronise it live on the blockchain.

Fashion Blockchain and Creativity

Back to a lack of consumer behaviour understanding and tasteless design – as two elements that have tanked connected fashion, a fashion blockchain will help with that as well.

Fashion design has always relied on our imagination. Finally, by exploring, through sophisticated algorithms, the vast data stored on a global fashion blockchain, the fashion designers of tomorrow will take the guesswork out of the equation.

Elektrocouture Marlene Dress

Marlene dress – world’s first fashion technology dress created by ElektroCouture

Inexpensive and non-intrusive to the wearer, smart labels will collect environmental, geographic, biometric, and consumption ‘footprints’ on the blockchain, providing the designer with highly accurate, critical data. 

As a creator, you’ll know consumers’ choice for sustainable or not, materials. The appreciation of your designs vs the products’ functional value. Will help you gain comprehensive insights into your consumer segment, trends and further sales opportunities, beyond past sales and Instagram conversational data.

A fashion blockchain will become a real-time, immutable global record of material provenience, manufacturing type and location, fashion styles, consumer behaviour, biometric data, able to nurture previously impossible creations.

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