10 digital solutions that are facilitating circular fashion
Digital solutions are facilitating circular fashion, and it's clear that digital innovations has a big role to play in the future of sustainable fashion.
Circular fashion aims to create a more sustainable and regenerative approach to the fashion industry by extending the life of products, reducing waste, and promoting more responsible consumption and production practices. Digital technology facilitates these objectives in several ways.
Circular fashion: how digital technology is promoting the change
There are many digital solutions that are driving the adoption of circular practices within the fashion industry, promoting sustainability and reducing its environmental impact. Let’s take a look at some of them.
1) Online Marketplaces and Platforms
Online Resale and Secondhand platforms allow individuals to buy and sell pre-owned clothing, accessories, bags and even.
At the same time, services that offer clothing rental options, allow users to rent garments for specific occasions instead of purchasing new ones.
Finally, platforms that facilitate clothing swaps and trades, enabling users to exchange their unwanted items for something new without spending money.
All these platforms extend the lifespan of fashion items, reducing the demand for new products.
2) Circular Fashion Apps
Various mobile apps help users make more sustainable fashion choices.
Some apps like Good On You and Project Cece offer information on eco-friendly brands, sustainable materials, and recycling options, making it easier for consumers to support circular fashion practices.
3) Fashion as a Service (FaaS)
In the FaaS model customers subscribe to a service that provides them with new clothing regularly. It is like a subscription business model, but after use, the items can be returned, repaired, and recirculated. This approach is championed by companies like Mud Jeans.
4) Smart labels
These technologies enhance transparency and traceability in supply chains, allowing customers to verify the sustainability and ethical practices behind the products they purchase. All they have to do is scan a QR code or NFC with their smartphone and access the information and certifications shared by the brand.
5) Garment Tracking Systems
RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags and other tracking systems are being used to monitor the lifecycle of garments, making it easier to manage and optimise their production processes, distribution and sale.
6) Efficient Reverse Logistics
Digital technology streamlines reverse logistics processes, making it easier for fashion brands to collect and manage returned items, increasing the likelihood of refurbishment, resale, or recycling.
7) Material Recycling and Regeneration
Recycling textiles is not an easy task. However, various digital tools and machinery are used to recycle and regenerate materials, turning old garments into new fibers or fabrics.
Technological advancements in material recycling and regeneration allow fashion companies to reuse textiles and fibers, giving new life to old garments.
8) Digital Clothing Customization with AR and VR
Brands are using virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies to allow customers to personalise their clothing designs online. This customisation encourages a more emotional connection with the garment, increases attachment and reduces the likelihood of discarding the items.
Moreover, some brands use AR and VR tools to offer virtual try-on experiences and ensure better fit when shopping online, reducing the likelihood of returns and their ecological impact on transportation pollution and waste production.
9) Digital Closet Apps
Digital wardrobe apps like Cladwell and Stylebook help users manage and maximise their existing wardrobe, encouraging them to make the most of what they already own.
10) AI for data collection
Digital technology allows for the collection and analysis of vast amounts of data. Brands can use data analytics to understand consumer behavior, preferences, and usage patterns, enabling them to tailor circular fashion initiatives to meet customer needs.
The role of connected products
Connected products are playing a significant role in facilitating circular fashion. Their main advantage is that they connect many of the steps seen above in one place. In fact, they are useful for:
- Promoting Product Transparency: Connected products provide consumers with information about a garment's environmental and ethical impact.
- Enhancing Clothing Rental Services: they can be used to monitor usage, wear, and maintenance. This helps rental companies keep track of their inventory and ensure that items are in good condition, extending their useful life.
- Personalised Recommendations for Circular Fashion: Connected products can collect data about a consumer's style preferences, size, and usage patterns. Using this data, fashion brands can offer personalised recommendations for pre-owned clothing, encouraging consumers to buy secondhand items.
- Incentivising Circular Behavior: Some brands use connected products to incentivise circular behavior in customers. For instance, customers may receive rewards or discounts for returning old items or participating in recycling programs.
- Monitoring Clothing Repairs and Upcycling: Connected products can be used to promote and track repair and upcycling processes. When a garment needs repair, the product can trigger notifications to the owner or repair services, ensuring the item is adequately maintained and reused.
- Monitoring Sustainable Practices: they can be used to monitor and verify sustainable practices within the supply chain. This data can then be shared with consumers, building trust and loyalty with brands committed to circular fashion.
Connected products and digital technology are paving the way for a more responsible and environmentally-friendly fashion industry, aligning with the principles of circular fashion.