Digital IDs in Dresses! Can This Bizarre Idea Turn Fruitful?

Digital IDs in Dresses! Can This Bizarre Idea Turn Fruitful?

Eon wants to make it possible for businesses to use digital IDs to track goods after they have been purchased.

Natasha Franck, the creator, and CEO of Eon in New York claims that once a product is sold, the brand no longer views it as an asset. Natalie Massenet, the founder of Net-a-Porter, has endorsed Franck’s idea for a digital product ID.

The goal is to improve traceability and, more importantly, to give brands access to new sources of income. Eon is a new wave in the tech startup environment that aims to enable brands to track products past the point of sale using digital IDs. According to Franck, they integrate digital IDs into products so that brands don’t lose the ability to produce data and income in the future. She is on a quest to establish an “ecology” with Massenet’s support that would enable companies to form a network of reliable, compensating partners in the circular economy, moving beyond simply understanding what happens to their products after the sale. But there are obstacles: Eon must persuade brands and their third-party partners that digital IDs are essential if it is to build a new ecosystem at scale. Additionally, customers must get on board. Additionally, there is rivalry: Software company Evrythng powers New York B Corp Another Tomorrow’s digital product IDs. Everything also collaborates with Vestiaire Collective, Ralph Lauren, and the World Economic Forum to synchronize the industry’s various digitization strategies. The partners that LVMH, Kering, and Levi Strauss & Co. are collaborating with, include Evrythng, the Aura Blockchain Consortium, and Ariane. Prada is also incorporating RFID (radio frequency identification) and NFC (near-field communication) microchips into all of its products.

Hugo Boss recently stated that it will work with Nedap Retail to implement RFID technology. Eon, Selfridges, Giorgio Armani, and Vestiaire Collective are part of the Sustainable Markets Initiative Fashion Taskforce, which promised to use Digital IDs to brand products and collect information about their manufacturing and sustainability credentials last October. Mulberry, Zalando, and Gabriela Hearst were the first to accomplish this. Brands may soon be obliged by law to comply. The European Union released its strategy for environmentally friendly and circular textiles at the end of March, including several suggested legislative measures to reduce textile waste and bring the sector into compliance with the Paris Climate Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Two of the ideas tucked inside were digital product passports, which experts say are necessary to make this viable, and extended producer responsibility, which would make textile manufacturers liable for the end of life of the products they produce. The policy will mandate the use of digital IDs, according to Franck. Without them, they wouldn’t have access to post-sale data, which would make it impossible to hold brands accountable.

These data-enabled products use digital product IDs made up of a data carrier—the tangible access point attached to the garment, like a microchip, QR code, or digital fingerprint—and the cloud-based profile, where the data is stored. These products are a part of the “Internet of Things,” where everyday objects are connected to the internet. Each product to which Eon attaches an ID receives a real-time environmental impact assessment, enabling marketers to more precisely calculate their overall impact (assuming they have sufficient transparency throughout their supply chains). The ability to track and authenticate things after the sale opens up new revenue opportunities from circular business models like resale, which should lead to a decrease in the volume of products in circulation. The gap between a brand and its customers is growing. The variety of channels for purchasing is growing, and these channels now include marketplaces, social media, and stores and resellers. Brands can engage with their customers anywhere thanks to digital IDs. By integrating digital product IDs, brands including Mulberry, Yoox Net-a-Porter, and Gabriela Hearst are moving ahead of impending EU legislation. It may result in more revenue from fewer products by enabling supply chain transparency and resale. Eon’s challenge is to increase investment and change in behavior at a large scale while surpassing its competitors. High-profile brand alliances and pre-competitive actions are hoped to be helpful.

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