Let us pick up where we left off last time on this subject. That was with how technology comes into play in helping the industry and consumers become more aware and accountable.
The first of these technologies is one that is bantered about a lot but often not understood, Block Chain. The easy definition is:
"Blockchain can be described as a data structure that holds transactional records and while ensuring security, transparency, and decentralization. You can also think of it as a chain or records stored in the forms of blocks which are controlled by no single authority." (click the link to go a bit more in depth).
Now I bet you are wondering, "How does this matter in Sustainable Fashion?" That is what we will discuss.
Integration of this new technology allows QR codes to be added directly to the labels of clothing, letting the consumer know the exact "chain" the materials went through to arrive as the finished product they hold in their hands! Simply scan the code with your smart phone and know the exact sources of what you are holding. This is a breakthrough in accountability! No more are we stuck hoping that our organically grown, sustainably manufactured, clothing is what we are told its is. We can track it! Not a lot of companies have utilized this technology yet, but we as consumers can start to demand it. Ralph Lauren has started to implement this technology as have a few other like Chanel and many of the LVMH brands. Though most are only using it to authenticate their products and limit losses from counterfeits. We can stand up and demand they give us the full information on a product from source-to-hand. All of the major brands are using AI combined with block chain technology in order to cut costs and authenticate sources. Consumers can and must demand that information is passed along to us. We all know that without oversight large corporations like LVMH, which recently became the second most valuable company in Europe, will look more to the bottom line than what is the right thing to do. This is really where we come in to the picture, writing those reviews of products and requesting that our favorite brands start using this technology as a check on themselves and to put our minds at ease. We want to know for sure that the steps we are taking in reducing the impact of the clothes we love, is doing just that. Take it even a step further and simply don't buy products that cannot be verified as truly sustainable.
How do we know that all of the major brands are already using this tech for internal revenue purposes? Thats easy, they have a very vested interest in streamlining production. Follow the money! They have been using this technology in some form since 2012, even if at its inception it was only to help keep them from overproducing or sending too much product to locations where it was not selling well.
Arket, an H&M brand subsidiary, teamed up with VeChain in order to do help consumer confidence in the sourcing and sustainability of their products. I think we can safely demand this across all of the H&M brands as well as other fast fashion brands, like Zara, and C&A .
We should all want this on all of the clothes we buy and the fashion we love. Fast fashion, to luxury goods, this is a process that can be implemented throughout the industry. It will be, if we all demand that it be done with the power of the pocketbook and our combined voices.