From blockchain to snapchat, how technology infiltrates the fashion industry?

Eva Engines
7 min readJul 22, 2021

The fashion industry, which seemed to be shying away from the digital era some years ago is increasingly taking this turn. While not that long ago luxury brands were afraid to become “accessible” through digital platforms, today they understood that it can be a great opportunity to improve communication and offering new services.

The health crisis has strongly influenced consumer habits and new needs emerge. The fashion and luxury industry has quickly seized the opportunity of a more digitized experience. Fashion is moving and let’s see how exactly !

Aura Blockchain : an unexpected alliance

The LVMH Group, Richemont Group, Cartier and others allied themselves in a totally unexpected way to create a common blockchain platform for the whole luxury industry.

Aura Blockchain represents a new turn in the industry. The platform, having a non-lucrative purpose, is open to all luxury and fashion brands wishing to join. With the aim to verify the authenticity and origin of luxury products. This blockchain meets the consumers’ expectations in terms of transparency. Importantly, Aura Blockchain is private: do not need to worry the data is not accessible to third parties in order to protect customers!

As the second-hand market is growing, it has become essential for brands to support their customers in this process. With Aura Blockchain, brands can share information about products, such as the start of sourcing, raw materials used and factories. The objective is to provide a high level of transparency and traceability throughout the life cycle of a product and therefore to access the history of each product and verify its authenticity in case of resale. In addition to strengthening a relationship of trust between brands and customers, the brands join the fight against counterfeiting by controlling the second hand market.

Aura Blockchain

Hublot already uses Aura to offer its customers an e-watch warranty thanks to the visual recognition of the microstructure of each item. In case of theft, the warranty can reflect the “stolen” status to avoid the resale of the watch.

Aura is not the only solution to offer traceability and transparency, using QR codes on clothes labels is another way to do so. But so far, Aura is still a revolution as an alliance and for now we have to wait and see if other actors like Kering are ready to join this alliance!

NFT and virtual fashion

A grand alliance in the luxury business is not the only unexpected change in the sector. Lately the luxury industry is also interest in NFTs, which mean non-fungible tokens.

But what are those exactly? A NFT is a unit of data stored on a blockchain that certifies a digital asset to be unique and not interchangeable. For exemple digital art can have a NFT to provide the owner a proof of ownership, but this is also valid for tweet, musics, photography or even digital clothes.

For now, the fashion market through NFT is more for the artistic spirit than for a utilitarian one as you may imagine. Today NFT is just starting in the fashion market, but the idea is that by buying an NFT piece of clothing, the owner could use the garment on video games for exemple to dress his or her avatars or could wear it digitally in Instagram or other social media. By buying it once it should be possible to use it in many and different ways! NFT is about brands using it as an opportunity to experiment fashion in areas an artistic areas.

Gucci’s sneakers

Unthinkable for some, it is already possible to buy virtual clothes. Recently Gucci has launched its first pair of digital sneakers, the “Gucci Virtual 25” costing around 13 euros. The video game platform Roblox sells virtual items from major brands such as Nike, Stella McCartney and Gucci. In January 2020, the exclusively virtual brand RTFKT sold 621 pairs of digital sneakers in only 7 minutes for 3.1 million dollars.

The Fabricant is a Digital Fashion House producing hyper realistic digital fashion experiences as clothes through NFT. They collaborate with physical brands in order to propose NFT drops. They collaborated in the past with RTFKT and have created together the RenaXance limited edition of digital garments. The fabricant also had organised with Adidas and Karlie Kloss a 3D digital fashion competition in order to elevate young women creators. Twenty designers were selected to be auctioned on KnownOrigin, a decentralized art platform in order to offer them visibility and monetisation for their work.

A new way to consume these products that is much more accessible, than real Gucci sneakers for example, and that does not pollute as the classical fashion industry. I don’t know about you, but we can’t wait to see the next breakthrough of virtual fashion!

Augmented reality fitting on Snapchat !

Decidedly this Covid-19 will have proved us for one thing: the fashion and luxury brands are not let down and innovate constantly!As we said before, the way of consumption has evolved, and since they can’t go to a store, consumers can’t try before buying online or in click and collect. How to face it? Thanks to augmented reality on Snapchat of course!

Thanks to augmented reality, luxury brands have found an almost infinite playground to express their creativity. The closure of stores during the crisis has accelerated the need for mobile storytelling strategies, and Snap is the best to create them without limits. In addition to allowing the creation of virtual worlds, Snapchat is the place where future consumers are. Médiamétrie counts 16 million daily users of the platform as the leading mobile app for 15–34 year olds. And let’s not forget that Milleials and Gen Z discover the world today through their smartphones!

Dior B23 on Snapchat

On the occasion of the release of its new sneaker, the B27, the fashion house Dior renewed the augmented reality fitting with Snapchat with a dedicated lens allowing it to perform a virtual fitting of the six variations of the sneaker. In addition to the instant preview of the different models on his foot, the process is also intended to promote conversion by offering a purchase functionality via a redirection on the Brand Profile of Dior and its official website.

With the same idea, Hapticmedia, a french startup, allows the same kind of service of virtual visualisation. Working with Baume, a watchmaker Richemont Group’s brand offering personalized watches with more than 2000 possible combinations. To facilitate consumers choice, they worked together to offer a 3D visualisation. During Viva Tech, the visitors could wear a connected paper bracelet to scan it with their phone in order to visualize, configure and potentially to buy the watch.

The digitalization of the fashion industry is becoming omnipresent. From storytelling, e-commerce to a specialized Blockchain for the sector, everything seems to be done to reassure consumers and build better relationships of trust. We can wonder and be impatient to see the evolutions of tomorrow.

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