The blockchain, initially used in cryptocurrencies, has then spread to the Fintech solutions sector, but is gradually taking on an important role in other sectors, including the fashion and luxury industry. Many companies are beginning to experiment with this type of technology whose potential is capable of making their brand evolve considerably: from tracing the origin of the materials used to make the products to guaranteeing their authenticity, to guaranteeing the ownership of the goods by the customer, the blockchain applied to the fashion and luxury industry is therefore a challenge that is only just beginning.
The main uses of blockchain in the fashion and luxury industry:
– Traceability of the origin of materials
Blockchain technology makes it possible to trace the transactions that take place along the company’s supply chain in a certain and unchangeable way and therefore guarantees a high level of traceability and security of online transactions and of the product along the supply chain, production and distribution. International organizations also push for supply chain tracking, such as the UN and the EU. For companies, the use of the blockchain guarantees a series of advantages among which the traceability of the different buying and selling transactions up to the different steps of processing, distribution and even in some cases geolocation of the product. In this way, also the consumer is protected: monitoring products step by step in their path from the raw material to the factory up to purchase, is a strong guarantee factor for customers who are increasingly interested in the origin of the materials of which the garments or luxury goods purchased are made, for both ethical and environmental sustainability reasons.
– Proof of authenticity of the products
The track-and-trace capability, guaranteed by the blockchain, becomes an important weapon in the fight against product counterfeiting. The blockchain in the fashion and luxury sector guarantees incontrovertible certification of the authenticity of the origin of the products, thus promoting the fight against counterfeiting and stolen goods trafficking. In addition, it allows total transparency of information up to the moment of sale: the customer receives a personalized certificate of authenticity with an integrated cryptographic system and the buyer has the possibility to make payment by cryptocurrency. The blockchain technology applied in this area also opens the door to the development of direct communication with customers and a more effective marketing strategy that also involves improving brand storytelling: in addition to increasing public awareness of the harmful effects of buying counterfeit products, brands today must think creatively about identity building, giving due importance to environmental and social sustainability aspects and maintaining constant proximity to the consumer.
– Notarization: proof of ownership
Through the blockchain it is possible to associate the customer with the purchased product in an immutable and permanent way, thus guaranteeing its legitimate ownership and being able to trace any subsequent changes in ownership. This possibility is particularly interesting for luxury goods that have a significant value and for which it is important for the owner to be able to prove both their authenticity and ownership.
Examples of blockchain implementations in fashion and luxury industry
Blockchain technology is also beginning to be explored by the major fashion and luxury industries as an effective means of ensuring safety and quality and thus increasing confidence in the product within the business and also by the customer. Louis Vuitton and Dior were the first brands to enter the platform and to be able to verify the traceability and authenticity of the products. The platform, open to all luxury brands, offers them the opportunity to exploit the great potential of the technology, allowing customers to have access to the origins and history of the product they have purchased, a decisive factor against counterfeiting that is now increasingly amplified by the growth of e-commerce. The luxury fashion brand Alyx by designer Matthew William also started using the blockchain in May 2019 to monitor the production of clothes from the raw material to the final product, to allow the customer through the QR code to understand in detail the origins of their purchases and their genuine quality, thus gaining confidence in the brand.
Blockchain technology offers great opportunities for the fashion and luxury industry through systems that can be integrated relatively easily, in order to allow luxury companies to quickly take their first steps and become familiar with the benefits mentioned above.
Fashion companies will be able to find a significant way of innovation using the blockchain: dialogue with consumers who are increasingly attentive to values such as those of traceability and authenticity, which must be told in a transparent manner, providing detailed and simple information.