Writer’s Note: Originally written for The Circle Fashion Magazine. Can be found here.
When a piece of clothing has a digital garment passport, there is a QR code or hardware tag on the clothing that has detailed information about the product. This “passport” enables the product to be tracked through its lifecycle and through circular business models like resale and recycling.
Digital garment passports will help add more transparency to the fashion industry by including information on the material contents of the garment, production, and even transportation. This will also help with making the product more sustainable through repair, resale, and recycling.
There are multiple companies that are already working to create digital passports and that are adding them to their products.
EON, a company focused on bringing every product online with a cloud-hosted Digital Identity, created what’s called the CircularID™ Protocol. CircularID is an industry-wide protocol for the digital identification of products in the circular economy.
This protocol includes the use of digital passports. According to the protocol, through the use of passports, companies can “gain invaluable insights into product usage, durability, and movement, incentivizing products to be designed and built for maximum lifetime value.”
PANGAIA, a materials science company focused on helping the environment, collaborated with EON earlier this year on their Horizon Capsule line. The garments, which are all bestsellers, have digital passports that are printed on the care labels. Customers can scan the QR code on the label to learn about the product lifecycle and environmental impact savings.
“Our goal is to empower our customers to make the best possible choices in a fun and engaging way,” says Maria Srivastava to Forbes, who is the Chief Impact and Communications Officer at PANGAIA.
Companies like H&M and Target, who are both a part of the CicularID pilot, are “looking to radically transform how they do business…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,” says Natasha Franck, founder and CEO of EON, to Vogue Business.
According to Forbes, Franck expects to see more brands adopt a digital ID in the next 5 years.