Blockchain technologies are reshaping the fashion industry: a statement supported by the success of initiatives like the Organic Cotton Traceability Pilot.

The pilot, a multi-stakeholder effort to track the journey of organic cotton from farm to consumer, harnessed ‘on-product markers’ and blockchain tech to successfully gather the vital information. DNA and invisible fluorescent tracers robust enough to survive the manufacturing process, along with Near Field Communication (NFC) tags, pinpointed key details in ‘consumer ready’ garments. These innovations were developed by Haelixa, Tailorlux, IN-Code Technologies and Corebiome: the supporting tech partners to Bext360, lead technical partner on the pilot, which was spearheaded through a collaboration between Fashion for Good, C&A Foundation and the Organic Cotton Accelerator, with backing from C&A, Kering, PVH Corp. and Zalando. Pratibha Syntex Limited, a manufacturing facility in India, led in-field trials to monitor the journey fibres took on the road to becoming garments sold in European stores.

“The success of the Organic Cotton Traceability Pilot provides a positive impulse towards traceability and transparency in the value chain. We’ve gathered sufficient insights and evidence to support the case, in terms of technical as well as operational viability, for the wider implementation of the process in the organic cotton industry. In addition, the process shows enormous potential for further expansion to include other fibres in the fashion supply chain,” said Katrin Ley, Managing Director of Fashion for Good.

Building a sustainable fashion industry the public can have confidence in calls for provenance like this. And organic cotton is of particular relevance to fashion brands striving to implement sustainability strategies, due to the positive impact it has in promoting health soils and farming practices.

Follow the journey

From next month the Fashion for Good Experience in Amsterdam – a museum showcasing all things sustainable fashion – will include an organic T-shirt from the pilot. The public will have the chance to get up close and personal with its journey using a Tailorlux handheld spectrometer that reveals the item’s tracer on an interactive display. The museum will also have more on the wider implications of the pilot, including the unique importance of organic cotton.