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How blockchain could change Brazil’s fashion industry

Pedro Febrero

A number of industries have been looking into the benefits of blockchain technology, with many believing it to be key for the success of future industries and organisations.

As it becomes more widespread, blockchain could potentially enable higher degrees of transparency and accountability in various types of networks, including fashion supply chains.

C&A – a Brazilian multinational clothing brand – has highlighted the importance of using blockchain technology in its supply chain as a way to promote transparency among partners.

Blockchain adoption in Brazil’s fashion industry

C&A supported the world’s first test initiative to use blockchain technology to track garments through the entire supply chain.

The initiative came from Neliana, a Venezuelan clothing brand which, in partnership with Provenance (a software developer) and together with designer Martine Jarlgaard, put the test to run.

The test consisted of tracking the product from its raw material through all stages of production until the final labeled product was shipped and arrived at designer Martine’s luxury store.

Blockchain technology is also being used in Haiti in the cotton industry, ensuring the origin of organic material by monitoring all stages of the process. This action can help the country regain its market strength in the segment, since it was once a major producer.

In an interview with the Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper, Leslie Johnston, executive director at C&A, said:

“Transparency is about having information that enables everyone in the supply chain to be accountable for their actions, empowering workers, for example, or for governments to do their jobs by making sure these factories work to compliance standards.”

Higher transparency, better trades

For blockchain to really work and to ensure industry transparency, initiatives need to connect multiple actors – large and small – across the globe.

For this reason, C&A has created the “Fashion for Good” project which focuses on connecting markets and bringing together the different dispersed nodes involved in clothing supply chains.

During the project, the team tracked and followed the journey of a specific raw material: alpaca wool.

They watched their entire production chain from raising the animals on the farms, cutting the wool, transporting it, handling it, and delivering it to stylist Martine Jarlgaard’s luxury store.

They were the first garments in the world to be tracked entirely with blockchain technology, with all the information available on the QR code on the labelling – which could later be checked in-store by customers.

Happier customers?

Recent reports have concluded that more and more customers wish to know the origin and labour conditions of certain vendors and suppliers, and this is now becoming a key factor in a person’s decision to make a purchase.

Consumers understand that transparency is a very valuable aspect of a brand, and better transparency will only improve relationships between companies and consumers.

As more organisations join the C&A project, an increasing number of products and materials could be tracked in an open-public blockchain. Consumers could then access the supply chain information through their mobile phones and check the origins of certain goods before purchasing.

Businesses adopting more transparent methods could be rewarded with more satisfied customers and improve their profits.

Bitcoin’s motto is “don’t trust, verify”. That’s the true power of the blockchain.

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