The ephemeral nature of fashion may seem an odd bedfellow for the blockchain, an online ledger designed to be permanent. However, the industry is figuring out how to use it and other digital tools to reduce waste and propel fashion forward.
Lablaco, an Italian company, is collaborating with fashion houses and brands to digitise their collections in the burgeoning “phygital” fashion market, which involves customers purchasing both a physical fashion item and its digital “twin,” designed to be collected or worn by avatars in virtual environments such as the metaverse.
Lorenzo Albrighi and Eliana Kuo founded Lablaco in 2016. Both had backgrounds in luxury fashion, but they wanted to improve the industry’s sustainability credentials and promote circular fashion, which is the practise of designing and producing clothes in a waste-free manner.
In 2019, the duo launched the Circular Fashion Summit, and Lablaco collaborated with retailer H&M to launch a blockchain-based clothing rental service in 2021.
They argue that pushing fashion into digital spaces helps generate data that is critical in efforts to move toward circular fashion.
Physical and digital items are paired in Lablaco’s model even after sale, so if a physical item is resold, the digital equivalent is transferred to the new owner’s digital wallet.
Because blockchain technology is transparent, the new owner can be assured of its authenticity, and the item’s creator can track its aftersales journey.
“If you don’t digitize the product itself, you cannot have any data to measure, and you don’t know what’s the impact of the fashion,”
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