Luxury e-tail group Yoox Net-a-Porter (YNAP) announced today it is piloting a “digital ID” in its clothing as part of the company’s efforts to enhance its fashion sustainability credentials.
The technology is currently used in the latest Mr P. collection for the Mr Porter brand and the entire ‘YNAP for The Prince’s Foundation’ range, but the plan is to use it in all the group’s private label collections from 2021 onwards.
QR codes tailored into each item enable customers to access information, digital content, and additional services related to the individual product. They are accessed via a scan of a mobile phone.
As its digital ID ecosystem develops, YNAP said important moments such as repair or resale can be digitally stamped in the passport. Giorgia Roversi, the group’s director of sustainability & inclusion, said this could start “opening doors for the garment to start a new beginning with another owner or to be recycled correctly, helping us to shift mindsets when it comes to longevity and circularity in luxury and fashion”.
Retail is under pressure to be greener, and fashion in particular is under huge scrutiny. Global management consultancy firm Kearney’s Circular Fashion Index, which monitors the largest 100 fashion brands operating in Europe, suggests only three companies have achieved an acceptable score in terms of efforts to expand the lifespan of products: Patagonia, The North Face, and Levi’s.
These three brands, according to Kearney, share a commitment to investing in sustainability and, in particular, to prolonging the longevity of their clothes. The consultancy argued that these businesses see sustainability as a business opportunity and an environmental requirement rather than a sacrifice or marketing campaign.
Against that backdrop and acknowledging fashion players have lots of work to do in this space, it is encouraging to see YNAP trying to leverage technology to raise awareness of the importance of circularity.
“Today, when we buy a garment, it is often challenging to reliably keep track of where it was made, what it is made of, and its authenticity,” explained Roversi.
“This can make it difficult to care properly for garments over the long term, to resell them, and even to recycle them. At YNAP we believe that unique digital IDs – essentially digital passports for the garments in our wardrobe – can help to overcome these challenges.”
The Digital ID programme is led by YNAP’s sustainability and R&D teams and is part of the group’s new sustainability strategy, Infinity, which it launched in November. Enhancing traceability of products and empowering customers to extend clothing lifetime is a key part of the wider programme.
Once established within YNAP’s private labels, digital ID is set to be introduced to the group’s brand partners in an effort to encourage further adoption of this method of product traceability.
[Image credit: Green Retail World]