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Blockchain in Fashion  and Luxury Retail

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Nearly every industry these days is discovering the potential and power of blockchain. Even fashion, which you may not expect, is slowly onboarding the tech. The fashion industry is one where fraud is all too common – at least when it comes to sourcing authentic materials. But putting aside the solving of problems, are there ways in which blockchain can make the fashion industry better?

In this article, we’ll discover that yes, there are. In fact, several brands are spearheading the shift to the blockchain, including the luxury jewelry industry. Whether it’s increasing transparency, giving fashion workers a fairer shot, reducing wastage, blockchain can do so much for fashion. 

With that, let’s dive into how blockchain can be good for the fashion industry. 

#1. Monitoring deliveries 

With blockchain, fashion companies can be assured of items and parcels, making their way to the desired destination. Participants to every delivery can monitor real-time where an item is. Having to wait for deliveries is a tedious and productivity-decreasing process. This becomes even worse when a project relies on several deliveries. It can be a tall order keeping track of every single delivery. And in case of losses, that might turn up bad real fast. 

Blockchain-powered tracking of deliveries and purchases can reduce the likelihood of losses and the confusion that arises from customers having to run around trying to retrieve persons that didn’t make it on time/at all. Every single step can be monitored on the transparent blockchain, where everyone can see the progress, making for an efficient and desirable experience for everyone involved.

 #2. Reducing counterfeits

The blockchain could help dramatically reduce counterfeits. In fashion, authenticity is highly valued, and in the future, a QR code to verify genuineness will be the standard. If an authentic item has been switched for a fake in the distribution process, it will be very easy for the blockchain to smoke that out. 

The Italian government recently pumped €15 million into blockchain technology to help reduce ‘Made in Italy’ counterfeiting in various industries, including fashion. The introduction of the technology will go a long way to protecting authentic ‘Made in Italy’ goods. 

#3. Reclaiming ownership

With the rise of nonfungible tokens (NFTs), people’s interest in blockchain ownership has also spiked. Blockchain allows people to own their data and intellectual and physical property in a trustless and verifiable manner. 

Fashion designers are already taking advantage of this possibility. Martine Jaelgaard, a London-based designer, incorporated QR codes in her garments, which allows them to be recorded and tracked on the blockchain. 

Paris-based Satoshi Studios sells high-quality sneakers that can be tracked using the blockchain using a QR code. This allows an individual to track the origin and supplies for the material and every process in manufacturing. 

#4. Provenance

The luxury industry of diamonds benefits from blockchain as companies use it to trace every step of the supply process. From mining to transporting to molding to sales, it’s easy to monitor every component of the process. 

Major diamond brand DeBeers is leading an industry-wide move into blockchain adoption, as blockchain-based diamond tracking platform Tracr becomes more influential. London-based diamond retailer Taylor & Hart has teamed up with blockchain company Everledger to authenticate the source of diamonds using the blockchain. Brilliant Earth, a San Francisco-based jewel retailer, is also using the Everledger platform for the same end. 

Such transparent processes ensure that buyers have more confidence in what they’re purchasing – together with its source, businesses in the diamond industry can keep their reputation. 

#5. Supply chain management

Blockchain can infinitely improve supply chain management for all kinds of industries. A lot has to do with transparency: it’s possible to track the movement of materials from the manufacturer to the retailer and, in some cases, ownership. 

Fashion giant Burberry recently partnered with IBM for a blockchain-based protocol that would allow customers to register their items and allow the viewing of the history and information about the garment and its impact on the environment and even people. 

The protocol, dubbed ‘Voyage’, allows customers to view an item’s supply chain before purchasing and registering them on the blockchain using corresponding serial numbers. Voyage is a pioneering information tool that will allow end-users to ascertain whether the right material has been used and if working conditions were good for workers.

#6. Improve employee welfare/reducing the recalling of products 

The transparency accorded by blockchain means fashion businesses can look at the data surrounding the supply chain’s employees. We hear reports all the time about poor working conditions or pay for workers all over the world. With blockchain in fashion, it will be easier to highlight concerns and improve employee welfare. This can include logging in the hours worked in the blockchain – and these hours being accounted for fairly. 

Also, blockchain-powered quality assurance can help prevent unnecessary costs, and items are less likely to depreciate in quality while being taken to the customer. 

#6. Blockchain-based warranties and coupons 

Maintaining open-source records of when goods were purchased could make it infinitely easier for manufacturers, retailers, and consumers to track when goods were purchased and keep records of warranties and guarantees. 

Customers will no longer have to hang on to physical receipts for years. All they will need to do is log into an account and access the same purchasing information as to their manufacturer and retailer.

Also, it will be easy for retailers to offer digital coupons to their customers. Such an issuance process is not only transparent; it also allows retailers to reach wider audiences in a more effective and cost-efficient process. 

#7. Consumer data ownership

Blockchain tech will help participants in fashion track items, but consumers can also have more control over their data. When fashion brands enter customer’s data on the blockchain, customers can view any activity surrounding it. 

This is incredibly important, especially in an era when concerns around data privacy become more prevalent than ever, and companies like Facebook face increased regulatory pressure around their treatment of user data. 

Final Thoughts 

Blockchain can offer so much to the fashion world. Between facilitating transparency to ensuring fair work practices to cost efficiency to the reduction of waste to improving customer experience, there’s no end in sight for the incredible potential of blockchain to positively disrupt the fashion world. Ultimately, the tech will serve to improve the relationship between brands and customers for the good of everyone involved. Blockchain can herald a new future for fashion. 

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