Are digital fashion IDs the future?

All about Digital IDs, their role in sustainability and how they’re infiltrating the world of fashion


The goal of giving everything its own digital identity is well underway and is making its mark within the world of fashion. But what are these digital IDs, how are they being used in fashion and can they be the future of the industry?

What is a digital fashion ID?

A digital ID is essentially a digital ‘passport’ for a product, telling a consumer all they’d need to know when it comes to making more sustainable choices.

A simple scan of a QR code would tell the customer everything from where the materials used have come from to the supplier used to create the item. Even as much as how much Co2 was produced can be found out in an instance.

The fashion industry’s impact on the world

Fashion production accounts for a staggering 10% of the world’s carbon emissions. With clothes going in and out of style at alarming rates, the global demand is said to increase by 63% in the next decade, some truly terrifying stats. Attitudes towards how we are buying and wearing clothes may be changing, but that doesn’t mean old habits will die out.

One third of women in the UK would class an item as ‘old’ after just one or two times wearing it. Out with the old and in with the new is definitely not a sustainable way to live when it comes to fashion as up to £140 million worth of wearable clothes end up in landfill yearly in the UK.

Could digital IDs be the saviour of the industry and boost sustainable shopping like never before?

“Fashion is the No.2 polluting industry in the world, second only to the oil industry”

How are these digital IDs helping battle sustainability issues?

The use of digital IDs is helping to battle the issues with greenwashing and to ensure consumers are more inclined when it comes to making decisions that are healthier for the environment. There’s no hiding anything when everything you could need to know about an item is all in one scannable place.

The advances in technology are amazing, so much so that you could be linked to a resale partner when scanned so that once you’re done with the clothes, you can send them on their way to find a new home. This would also encourage buyers as they could easily go through the history of the item, all the way back to its maker.

If you know the product’s history, it will be simple to speak about reuse and recycling because you have the transparency of all materials and the creation’s process

The issues with digital IDs

When it comes to tagging items, luxury brands may have it a lot easier. Pieces made in much smaller quantities are going to be easier to tag with its specific digital ID. High street brands however churn out millions of items of stock a year, all of which would need to be tagged with its respective specific ID, which as you can imagine, would be a massive job.

Another question on the lips of the digital ID space is whether anyone would actually, realistically use these IDs when it comes to clothes shopping.

Off the bat, it of course sounds like a brilliant idea and a way in which we can all start shopping more sustainably, but, how many people are actually going to care enough to use these digital IDs when it comes down to it.

McKinsey 2022

The growth of resale businesses means it has never been more important to prove authenticity and track a product’s history, particularly in luxury

Is there really a future for these digital fashion IDs or is it more a case of it sounding easier to achieve than it actually is? Will consumers get on board with, or even be interested in product traceability? Will it make much of a difference when it comes to tackling the issues with sustainability within the fashion industry? Or, is it simply just the latest craze?

By Hollie Wakefield