Piacenza 1733, an Italian manufacturer of luxury fabrics, has successfully completed the digitalisation of its entire supply chain, and today can offer in a transparent way a guarantee regarding the authenticity and sustainability of its products.

The fashion industry is strongly oriented towards increasing its transparency and consumers are demanding greater guarantees in terms of sustainability and ethical production processes. For this reason, an increasing number of brands in the fashion industry choose blockchains to certify the authenticity of their clothing.

This is what was done by Piacenza 1733, an Italian manufacturer of luxury fabrics, which after three years of work, finished digitalising its entire supply chain, from sheep to shop, using the IBM Blockchain so it could benefit from the analysis of big data and improve its productive efficiency, while also presenting the resulting economic benefits to other producers.

IBM Research of Haifa (Israel) used the potential of the IBM Blockchain Transparent Supply (IBM BTS) platform to trace the entire spectrum of fabric manufacturing from source to sales, collecting all data on the manufactured garments including who, where, when and under what conditions each item was produced. The customers of Piacenza 1733 can then access documentation that is not falsifiable on the garment’s origins, confirming the correctness of the information received. A recent study shows how over half of all Italians are interested in having more information on the garments they purchase from the label of the item or by scanning a QR Code, with regards above all to the origin of the product (confirmed by 60% of those interviewed), the authenticity of the brand (55%), and the organic origin of fabrics, including treatments without pesticides and chemical agents (54%).

From the QR code on the label of Piacenza 1773 garments, customers will have detailed information on each phase in the production process (important for 76% of Italian), and will be able to identify all the elements that go into the making of a sustainable product, while also verifying the authenticity of the clothing.

At the same time, brand owners who license their designs or trademarks can use blockchain technology to track sales and royalty payments. Different parties in the supply chain can also track the location of where different steps in the process took place to determine what kind of customs or tax discounts are available based on current incentives and regulations. “We are leaders in the top-end range of the clothing and accessories industry, and we supply some of the most famous designers worldwide with our exclusive fabrics, guaranteeing a high level of personalisation: our products involve over 70 processes and are unique in terms of raw material choice, style, and colour – declares Carlo Piacenza, CEO of the brand – For us, it’s imperative to provide our clients with very high quality and high level of innovation and the collaboration with a technological leader like IBM allows us to work together towards our goals of complete traceability and environmental protection”.

Carlo Piacenza

The burden of proof
Giving one’s word is no longer enough. Now, solid proof is needed. Consumers are no longer satisfied with generic declarations on the sustainability of products, but demand guarantees that are supported by new technologies: 7 consumers out of 10 in Italy and Spain confirmed they trust in tools like the blockchain, AI, and IoT for the sustainability of their purchase. This is what emerged in the study “European Fashion System” carried out by Morning Consult for IBM on a sample of 4000 people in Italy, Spain, Germany, and the UK, with over 50% of respondents willing to pay up to 10% more to obtain verified information on the origin including if: the garments are produced with recycled materials, without pesticides and chemical compounds, produced by brands that are committed to preserving biodiversity along the supply chain, and produced using circular practices.

If, in general, all those interviewed agree with the importance of organic production, a use of renewable energies, and the presence of a sustainable partner logo, for the majority of those interviewed, a description of the steps in production is the highest possible guarantee confirming the best business practices of a company (75% Italy, 73% Spain, 57% Germany, 61% UK). It accordingly appears clear that a value like transparency is decisive in supporting the sales of sustainable products.