Blockchain can increase transparency and sustainability in the fashion industry, but not without challenges

According to Indrė Viltrakytė, a fashion entrepreneur who heads digital fashion company “The Rebels”, blockchain could help solve key problems in the fashion market, such as counterfeit products, forced labor and environmental impact.

The fashion industry has a lot to gain from the use of blockchain technology, particularly in terms of combating counterfeiting, preventing forced labor and limiting environmental impact. However, slow adoption and some market myths can slow its implementation and create new challenges that need to be considered.

Indrė Viltrakytė, co-founder of the Web3 fashion company “The Rebels”, talked about how technology could benefit the fashion industry and how to address its limiting factors.

The advantages of blockchain in the fashion industry

Fight against counterfeiting

In 2022, the global counterfeiting industry is expected to reach $ 4.2 trillion. Fashion items are among the most replicated items. For many brands, this has resulted in billions of dollars in losses.

It is important to note that clothing, footwear and accessories from uncertain sources can harm the health of consumers; in fact, a recent study found that counterfeit fashion items can expose consumers to dangerous chemicals and heavy metals.

The integration of the blockchain into the supply chain allows you to trace a product from production to sale, guaranteeing its authenticity at the time of purchase. Technology also protects the legitimacy of digital fashion assets.

Blockchain and transparency

Staying trendy doesn’t have to be expensive these days. However, cheap clothing is often the result of the exploitation of staff at one point or another in the supply chain. The complexity of global logistics makes it difficult to keep track of all parties involved in the process, and the growing overproduction of fast-moving goods continues to exacerbate the problem.

The blockchain allows processes to be traced in real time, which increases the traceability of the origin of production, also excluding forced labor or human trafficking. Indré Viltrakytė added: “Instant data monitoring helps optimize resources, resulting in greater overall production efficiency.”

Reduction of CO2 and water consumption

Fast fashion weighs heavily on the planet and its resources. According to the UN, about 2700 liters are needed to make a cotton shirt, while a single pair of jeans requires 9982 liters. Fast fashion is also responsible for 8-10% of global CO2 emissions. Between 2000 and 2015, clothing production roughly doubled, reaching 1,715 million tons of CO2 produced, with a trend that has strengthened in recent years.

“The current interest in the metaverse (which is powered by the blockchain) offers a way to combat consumer overconsumption, as people can first try on clothes within the digital space. The play experience thus allows many to review. styles and find ‘the best fit’ before you even go to a clothing store, which reduces impulses and unnecessary purchases, ”commented the fashion entrepreneur.

Reduced barrier to market entry

It can be extremely difficult for new designers to enter this industry, which remains extremely competitive. Also, to keep up with the market, artists have to launch at least several clothing collections a year, which only adds to financial hardship.

Web3 has opened up new perspectives for independent creators looking to break into the industry. As Ms Viltrakytė noted, the virtual world offers opportunities for “artists of all sizes to showcase their work, offering niche creators a stepping stone to a completely global and borderless market.” On the other hand, established brands can leverage the metaverse as an easily accessible secondary market.

metaverse

Limiting factors of the blockchain

Slow adoption

One of the main problems highlighted by Ms Viltrakytė is the lack of interoperability of blockchains. Until this problem is solved, the mass adoption of digital “wearables” is far from certain. Overall, she noted, it will be a slow and steady process rather than a massive breakthrough. In this context, Generation Z digital natives will be key in paving the way for wider adoption.

“The good thing is we have time to experiment to see which solution could speed up the process,” said the entrepreneur. “I see a lot more possibilities for AR adoption [réalité amplifiée] rather than VR [réalité virtuelle] to complete. Likewise, accessories, like sunglasses, jewelry, and the like, are a great playground for IG / Snapchat filters. With IG’s implementation of NFT verification, the use case becomes quite concrete, ”he added.

Widespread myths about the digital sector

Many remain skeptical, arguing that digital art “cannot be felt or touched”; however, Indré Viltrakytė countered this idea by citing the example of the “Samsung The Frame” display. When not in use, this TV doubles as an art display. In the case of generative art, for example, beauty is in the code, which is a completely new medium for art.

“Some would say it’s art, but there was a time when photography wasn’t considered a true art either. If people decide that digital art is on the same level as oil paintings, it will be. Digital art is also much more accessible and can be enjoyed at any time, unlike many traditional artistic resources, forever confined to locked rooms somewhere in international warehouses. “

Blockchain and cybercrime

Virtual art has become an increasingly frequent target for hackers. No digital system is immune to attack and the Web3, in particular, is still very “Wild West”. Therefore, according to Indré Viltrakytė, “the players on the pitch must lead by example” and educate the community.

“The Rebels, for example, has 24/7 Discord community support, which reacts almost instantly to any question about Web3, NFT and blockchain in general, for those who are new to this space.” , explains.

“Web3 is a relatively new concept for many of us, which increases the chances of human error. I think every Web3 project / company should do their part, which in turn would make the whole community more resilient to threats. “

About the author

Indrė Viltrakytė is the co-founder of the Web3 fashion company The Rebels. Her NFTs consist of 10,101 unique characters based on the controversial “Jesus, Maria” ad campaign. The campaign was banned but later found justice in the European Court of Human Rights, which ruled in favor of the brand. The case is now seen as a precedent in cases relating to freedom of expression in the EU.

Indrė Viltrakytė has more than 10 years of experience in the fashion industry.

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