Sourcing Journal’s Sustaining Voices celebrates the efforts the apparel industry is making toward securing a more environmentally responsible future through creative innovations, scalable solutions and forward-thinking initiatives that are spinning intent into action.
Eon is using digital identities to prepare garments for the circular economy.
Natasha Franck spends a lot of time thinking about digital identities.
As founder and CEO of the New York startup Eon, Franck wants to connect life-cycle management with the Internet of Things (IoT) to manifest what she calls a “circular and regenerative future” for apparel and retail.
This spring, Eon and Closed Loop Partners will launch The Global Connect Fashion Initiative, ushering in an open, industry-wide standard for a digital identity that ferries information about a product at every stage of the value chain.
Uses for such a "circular-id" abound: Brands might harness this digital twin to unlock visibility in the supply chain after point of sale, or consumers to identify or authenticate products for resale, sharing or peer-to-peer renting. Textile collectors could employ it to tease out garment information, such as fiber or chemical content, to facilitate recycling.
The circular economy presents the “largest global logistics challenge,” Franck said. “It requires us to keep products at highest and best use, and materials continuously in circulation. If we can’t identity the products, and the material components and composition, we can’t possibly keep the products, material and resources in use, and/or revalorize and recycle them.”
An embedded digital identifier, on the other hand, helps bridge the “communication gaps” between a product's beginning, middle and end of life, Franck said.
“A circular-id will make it possible for us to identity products and access the information essential to keeping the products and materials in a circular system,” she added.
In what areas has the fashion industry made the biggest strides in sustainability in the last five years?
“We believe that the fashion industry has made progress in advancing the vision beyond an approach based on ‘incremental improvements’ and toward a strategy that embraces fundamental systems change.”