Altering The Fashion Industry Via Blockchain Technology
Whenever the term blockchain is mentioned, it is usually associated with cryptocurrency especially Bitcoin. Indeed, it is used heavily within the financial sector with the idea of virtual payments. However, exploring this technology, it has proven to be far more useful than it's being relegated to. For me, the sweetest part of this technology is it's ability to protect digital identities and establish authenticity. I call it the sweetest because it has far-reaching consequences for the luxury and fashion industry where I fall in.
What is blockchain?
It's simply a distributed ledger that stores transactions sequentially. You can safely say it's a database that is shared across a public or private network. This technology uses a decentralised system, meaning that each user on this network has a copy of the shared database making it difficult for one person to change or modify the contents of this database.
Sometime last year, news swirled on I.G about some celebrities wearing fake Fendi . Also, last year, there were recorded disputes amongst brands over claim of the original owners of a particular design. Isn't it refreshing to think that all these drama can be averted using blockchain? Here is how it works.
Blockchain offers a strong record of a production chain I.e for each virtual or physical good, there will be a complete list of transaction leading all the way up to the origin of an item(and its ingredient). Data recorded on this network cannot be manipulated or controlled by a single user. Brand imitation has been one of the biggest challenges in the fashion industry. Profits are taken from established brands while reducing the quality of items, thus destroying the brand's reputation. By simply recording your production process starting from the shipment of the fabric down to the finishing stage of your design, you already have full proof against imitation or counterfeiting.
Consumers are not also left out as they can use this technology to track the origin of the product they are paying for, thereby defeating the problem of buying sub-standard and counterfeit product at an outrageous price.
Blockchain powered supply chains can foreseeably transform the shape of many fashion businesses and sustain brands in the years to come. The Nigerian fashion industry is literally on fire! It has caused a massive re-base in the country's GDP while spreading it's tentacles internationally. It is therefore crucial for the fashion industry and Nigeria at large to be open and proactive in the adoption of this technology as it has the potential to foster sustainability and transparency in the industry.
International fashion brand Babyghost, London Martin Jarlgaard and a host of other designers are already tapping into the awesomeness of the blockchain technology. Since Nigeria is a third world nation considered technologically backward, we can however be proactive on the adoption of this technology when it gets a wider spread and goes mainstream.