How blockchain paves its way through the fashion industry
For most people, blockchain technology is still quite an abstract concept. We can think of it as some kind of virtual database that saves all transactions in so-called blocks. This creates transaction or block chains, which are perpetuated with every subsequent transaction. Through the high degree of transparency, the system can do without a central controlling entity, as it is permanently controlled by many. The blockchain can be changed afterwards. So far, this technology has been used mainly to materialize cryptocurrencies, but it increasingly paves its way also through the fashion industry. The following section outlines a few blockchain concepts from the fashion industry:
Blockchain makes fashion forgery-proof
The Berlin-based startup business Lukso has created an opportunity to take action against trademark counterfeiting and forgeries by using blockchain. A chip replaces traditional QR codes, which can be copied easily. The data stored on the chip are locked in and thus cannot be edited. Thus, the authenticity of the garment can be verified. The founder of Lukso, Fabian Vogelsteller, used his experience he had gained as a developer for the Ethereum cryptocurrency in order to develop this chip.
„The Fashion industry is the perfect industry for a blockchain-network, since it is forward thinking and eager to try out new things. Especially the interaction between users is an important factor here. Also forgery-proof is still an unsolved problem,“ explains the founder of LUKSO, Fabian Vogelsteller.
The data stored on the chip can be analysed, but not read. Thus, the information about the products is disclosed in the blockchain in a transparent way for the customers and retailers. However, by not disclosing the system, the information can neither be changed nor copied, making the history of the garment traceable at any time. This technology provides protection against counterfei¬ting in particular with regard to brand and luxury goods. The system is also suitable for second-hand shops selling high-quality products, as the buyers are given a guarantee that they have bought a genuine product.
…and its origin transparent
SourceMap is another development using blockchain for the fashion sector. SourceMap is a kind of social network based on blockchain technology developed by the software company Provenance.
It allows everyone from the farmer to the textile mill to the cut-and-sew factory to communicate directly with the brand that buys from them, and it is using Provenance’s blockchain technology to verify those communications. They envision a world in which every fashion product has traceable, transparent origins. The developers promise that for example organic and Fair Trade certifications cannot be faked. The designer Martine Jarlgaard from London produced smart labels from Provenance using blockchain technology already in 2017, allowing the customers to scan these labels to track every step in the production.
Also, the fashion label Babyghost has launched a kind of social network. With specific chips woven into the garments, the customers are able to track the entire history of the clothes using their smartphone. The blockchain technology behind that even allows the consumers to add their own photos, videos and messages. This way, each garment gets its own story that is accessible at any time.
Berlin-based business wants to revolutionize online shopping experiences with blockchain
Wysker is an app developed by Tobias Haag and his team from Berlin to revolutionize online fashion shopping. With the blockchain system, users can decide on whether and what data they want to disclose to the retailers. Those who provide data will be rewarded with discounts. The Wysker app itself shows only photos, prices and the providers of the products. Those who find what they are looking for will be forwarded to the respective business partner. The developers expect that the bonus model will become a small revolution. Every app user is given bonus points, so-called Wys tokens. The more intensive the app is used, the more tokens are given. The tokens can be redeemed with the participating retailers. They are based on blockchain technology and connected to the Ethereum cryptocurrency. The value of the bonus points increases with the popularity of the app, as the number of tokens is limited. Thus, increased demand leads automatically to a higher value. The app is still in the initial stage. However, many users have already been generated during the first few months.
The fashion industry shows once again its innovative strength and uses blockchain to embark on new paths, with blockchain technology being a means to the end. It creates transparency that can reward the users and bring new shopping experiences.