10 Billion Items of Connected Clothing, A New Mine for Sustainability Data

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Forbes writes that some 10 billion products in the apparel, accessories and footwear market are currently being individually digitally connected, and the ability to locate items is just one of the benefits that will surface from the deal.

Forbes writes: “So what does that actually mean? Essentially our physical wares will come with digital applications accessible via our phones. We will indeed be able to find our shoes when we’ve lost them, but also do such things as figure out how to wash clothes properly, look for style tips on how to wear items, even search for how to buy a new version of the same piece. In fact, the limitations of what’s possible lie entirely in the hands of the brands whose products will now have such digital identities, and not the partners facilitating it.”

Included in the article was information on how global manufacturer and distributor of pressure-sensitive adhesive materials (such as self-adhesive labels), apparel branding labels and tags, RFID inlays, and specialty medical products would be part of this new digitally connected fashion world. We caught up with Kim Schneider, Senior Director, Technology Solutions for Avery Dennison RBIS to see what type of a leap this will be for the fashion industry and how brands will be effected.

How will connected clothing effect transparency?

Kim Schneider: This is a great question. Transparency and its connection to sustainability is a key priority at Avery Dennison, especially as we set the bar to reach our 2025 sustainability goals and create change from the inside out.
Using a smart device, Janela™ will allow brands and retailers to share transparent information like where a product is made and who made it, and many more details that may not be practical to print on a tag or label. It also gives brands the opportunity to deliver specific and relevant content to each individual consumer.

One example is the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) and the great work they are doing to establish a defined way to measure the sustainability of apparel products.  While this is valuable information that many consumers want to access, it would not be practical or sustainable to physically print all the details and attach it to an item.  The ability to easily access this type of information through a smart device is a real game changer.

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How will it affect how we take care of things?
KS: Recycling becomes a lot easier for consumers and brands alike when a product can trigger specific information on what to do when it reaches its end-of-use, including how to upcycle for a second use or how to find the nearest recycling center.
With the use of the Janela™ Smart Products Platform, each apparel and footwear product contains a unique, item-level code on the label that can be scanned by a smartphone to connect with a corresponding unique software identity in the cloud. This enables powerful new mobile experiences to be built using the real-time data flowing to and from serialized individual products, connecting those physical clothes and shoes with the digital ecosystem of people, applications and services on the Web.

Examples of some of the Avery Denison product applications include:

Product History: Data about product materials, manufacturing and distribution can deliver total transparency to consumers about where the product came from and how it was made.
Loyalty Rewards: Consumers can interact with their products to unlock personalized digital content, services, offers and extras, or link to third-party apps for other rewards and benefits.
Product Reordering: Consumers can interact with products by using their digital identities and their smartphones to reorder products they like or access similar products that they may want to purchase.
Brand Protection: Brands can put stronger protection programs in place with item level digital authentication and real-time analytics, tackling the challenge of goods sold being counterfeit.
Loss Prevention: A product that carries data about where and when it was purchased cannot fraudulently be returned, helping retailers address fraud that costs the industry billions of dollars globally each year.
Personalized Recommendations: Consumers can access unique personalized content on their smartphones like personal styling suggestions, new season tips, health and fitness content and event invitations, which are triggered by the product and based on past purchases.

For more information, visit Avery Denison and follow the conversation at #JanelaBornDigital.