As the world becomes more and more conscious of the need to be sustainable, the fashion industry is starting to change. We’re seeing a rise in carbon labels, traceability tags, and digital passports for clothing.
Why do we need these things? The answer lies in sustainability.
As consumers become more aware of the importance of buying sustainable clothing, the industry needs to find new ways to prove that their garments are environmentally friendly. That’s where carbon labels, traceability tags, and digital passports come in. They keep track of where each garment comes from, what it is made of, and how much pollution it caused.
Why Fashion Needs Transparency
Every time you buy a new shirt or dress, you’re making an environmental statement. The clothes we wear impact the environment in all sorts of ways; from water use to energy consumption and even greenhouse gas emissions.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to get specific information about the garment industry’s impact on the climate, as it is such a mix of different elements.
A single T-shirt could have been made up of different components from different countries. The cotton might have been farmed in Bangladesh while the dye used was made in India for example, then sewed together in Thailand before being packaged and shipped from China.
One thing we can agree on is that all this production and transportation has consequences for our planet, which is why transparency within the fashion industry is a necessity.
A Circular Economy
The fashion industry is in a bit of a bind. They’re producing more clothes than ever before, but people are also discarding clothes at a higher rate than ever before. This is where the circular economy comes in.
The Circular Economy is a framework that aims to keep materials and products in society for as long as possible, all while being environmentally safe, effective, and fair.
It’s a simple idea – create less waste, use things more, and recycle when they come to the end of their life.
However, the fashion industry’s business model relies on us discarding old clothes and buying new ones – something that doesn’t fit well with the circular economy. The whole point of the Circular Economy is to keep things for as long as possible.
There’s a lot going on in this article, so let’s break it down:
* Fashion industry producers have been producing more clothes than ever, but people are discarding them at a higher rate than ever.
* A circular economy focuses on extending the life of materials and products, while being environmentally safe, effective, and fair., and fair.
* The entire point of the circular economy is to keep things for as long as possible, which isn’t compatible with the fashion industry’s business model.
Digital Passport: Giving Clothing a Digital Identity
One of the greatest hindrances to creating a circular fashion economy has been product identification and lack of transparency.
We don’t know for certain where a garment was made, how old it is, or even what it is truly made of.
Fortunately, the answer to all this might lie in technology.
New York start-up Eon says it can give clothes their own digital identity, allowing the lifecycle of the garment to be freely available for everyone to see.
Powered by a QR code or an RFID chip, the digital passports bring to life each garment’s unique journey.
Consumers can simply unlock the history of the garment with their phone by scanning the label, allowing them to see the full life story in one place, from where the fabric was sourced to its carbon footprint.
Technology for Transparency
Eon’s digital passports are an example of how technology can help us track our clothes and bring transparency to the fashion industry. There are other ways that are being developed across the spectrum of data collection.
One example is Pulsate.
Pulsate is a technology company looking to help the fashion industry by closing the traceability gap.
The idea behind Pulsate’s technology is simple. They offer a chip that can be sewn into clothing that will allow retailers and brands to track their products through every step of the supply chain, from production studio to distribution center, all the way to the hands of a customer.
Pulsate is also looking at ways they can use their technology for mobile payments and loyalty programs between customers and retailers.
Everyone who is paying attention knows that things can’t continue as they have been. Landfills are being filled, animal habitats are being destroyed, pollution is increasing and workers aren’t being paid fairly – if at all.
Modern technology is making it possible to track where our clothes come from, their journey, the impact of creating them and our responsibility in the transactional relationship between consumer and retailer.
This all works together to help circular become one step closer to becoming a reality.
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