Leading luxury players bet blockchain can advance circular fashion

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To make circular fashion, from resale to recycling and repairs, convenient and profitable, luxury is betting on blockchain to track items and keep them in rotation longer without eroding consumer trust as product changes hands.

A new partnership between luxury’s Aura Blockchain Consortium and The Sustainable Markets Initiative Fashion Task Force, the coalition chaired by Yoox founder and former CEO of Yoox Net-a-Porter Group Federico Marchetti, signals luxury’s ambitions towards this are gaining traction, as well. as validating the blockchain as a necessary tool in making circular fashion a reality.

The task force was launched in 2021 under the Sustainable Markets Initiative, a private-sector coalition launched by Prince Charles in 2020 to promote circularity and regenerative agriculture. Members include Brunello Cucinelli, Burberry, Chloé, Gabriela Hearst, Giorgio Armani, Moda Operandi, Mulberry, Vestiaire Collective and Zalando.

A major milestone was the Digital ID launched last October that tags products and records details about their manufacturing and sustainability credentials, allowing brands to share information with customers about a luxury item’s supply chain, an offering that meets consumer interest in sustainability and regulators’ interest in greenwashing and supply chain due diligence. It can also be used to preserve the identity of a product beyond the initial point of sale, needed for circular services from resale to recycling.

The collaboration with Aura, which was founded in April 2021 by LVMH, Prada Group and Cartier, will take those services to the next level by providing additional convenience and security, and enabling those details to be transferable with the products they’re associated with, says Daniela Ott, general secretary of the Aura Blockchain Consortium. Brands can have suppliers write details from different stages of production – where leather originated from when it arrives at a tannery before being turned into a handbag, for example – into the blockchain, in a simple, easy-to-understand manner. The blockchain stores those details in an “immutable” way, Ott explains, and brands can then share it with customers in whatever format they choose – an RFID chip or QR code, perhaps. “I can see, ‘This handbag was produced six months ago; this is where the leather came from, it was produced in Italy – and I can get access to all that information ‘. And you can not falsify this information, ”she explains.

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