Tech start-up Provenance has been looking beyond fashion for alternative solutions to the industry’s issues. Using Blockchain technology to track garments from farm to finished product, they’re providing a platform that’s able to provide 100% transparency, proving the origin, the journey and the impact of clothing.
As we all know, fashion supply chains are complex and difficult to untangle. Second only to the oil industry, fashion is considered to be one of the most polluting industries in the world. Too often brands make claims like ‘made ethically’ and ‘organic cotton’ without hard evidence to back up these statements.
Using new technology, it looks like this could all change, though. Provenance’s use of Blockchain technology will to help shine some light on these questions and could be the missing link in making brands accountable for any claims they make.
Greenwashing Could Become a Problem of the Past
As consumers, we want to get what we’re paying for, especially when it comes to ‘conscious’ fashion, and paying a premium for these products. Blockchain can be the tool to allow us to trace these clothes back to their original sources, whether it be back to the farm, or to the actual animal.
So How Does Blockchain Actually Work?
A Blockchain is a distributed database that is used to maintain a continuously growing list of records, called blocks. Each block contains a timestamp and a link to a previous block. What this means is that once the data is recorded in a block, it cannot be altered and the information about producers, origins and ingredients is then verified and traceable.
Brands Leading The Way
Provenance is currently collaborating on with conscious fashion designer Martine Jarlgaard and the Fashion Innovation Agency on their pilot study, tracking a garment from farm through production and beyond, all registered using Blockchain. Martine Jarlgaard London aims to use supplies from responsible sources like surplus fabrics, upcycled materials and organic alpaca, cotton, hemp and linen, and all pieces of their SS18 collection are traceable via Provenance.org.
Other brands jumping on the Blockchain band wagon include People Tree, who tracked their men’s organic sweatshirt back to its source: Chetna Organic. Chetna Organic work with marginalised farmers from Maharashtra, Odessa and Andhra Pradesh, improving their livelihoods and making farming a sustainable occupation. Rajlakshmi Cotton Mills then purchases the organic cotton from Chetna Organic and oversees the entire process from spinning the cotton into yarn, to sewing the final sweater. People Tree then package it up and the product gets transported from Rajlakshmi to the UK by sea.
What Does This Mean For The Consumer?
With Blockchain technology, it won’t be long before consumers are able to know the true story behind what they wear, right up to the point of purchase.
Our future trust in brands will therefore rely on brands connecting the physical and digital, using them not only as a communication tool but as a sustainable innovation, which can help the future of ‘ethical’ fashion thrive. There will be no hiding behind greenwashing, and customers will know exactly where, how and by whom their clothes were made!
Amazing new technologies like this allow us to ‘Question why. Ask who. Learn how’. Here at Revival Collective we think that being inquisitive and becoming aware, instead of just being complacent with the current way the commercial fashion, beauty, and lifestyle industries are run, is essential for us to move forward, and shame the big brands into reducing their impacts, and changing their ways.
Do you think companies like Provenance are going to have a big impact on transparency throughout the fashion industry? Are consumers ready to face up to the truth behind their favourite shopping destinations?
Let us know your opinions by commenting below or tweeting us @revival_collect!