A new standard has been set by the big guns of the fashion industry. Partnering up for the greater good, they have found a way to make it possible for a garment to have a unique digital identity that stays with the clothing throughout its lifecycle.
Accelerating the Circular Economy By Making Longer-lasting Products
Devised to encourage circularity, the CircularID is the brainchild of H&M, Target, PVH Corp, Microsoft and other partners who include academic, design and sustainable fashion organisations. It has been designed to make it easier for product information to be communicated accurately. “When a brand is making a product, they aren’t thinking, ‘What information does this require when you recycle this? What details do you need when you re-commerce it?’ because that’s not their job function,” Natasha Franck told Vogue Business.
Franck is the founder of Eon, a software startup company that developed the platform and coordinated the initiative. She said: “The protocol covers the continuous flow of the product through commercial business functions like resale and rental, as well as the material content of the product and what is essential to keep the inflow of the material, including disassembly and recycling instructions.”
The information that CircularID provides includes the materials, origin, authenticity, price, style and recycling instructions. While the user owns the product, the technology, which permits the garment to be “checked in” and authenticated, remains connected to the wearer. It also creates a log of interaction data during the product’s life cycle, allowing the owner can easily resell or recycle.
In development for eight months, the CircularID has been created using RFID, NFC, QR code or UPC barcode technologies. Also, its unique identity details can be stored on a blockchain. On how the partnership will transform how fashion companies do business Franck says: “Every brand today is looking at how to create products that are more sustainable and solve for the business model challenges that go along with that transition.”
Designed to have a significant impact on fast-fashion retailers and inspire new business models to resale, renew and recycle, it has been announced that H&M and Target will be part of the pilot and the digital ID will be publicly available in November 2019.