HANG SIGN: Traceability tech solution Open.Mode launched its first phygital block-chain-enabled hangtags with sustainable brands Another Tomorrow and Mother of Pearl.
The event took place at the Agora boutique at Six Senses Ibiza, which focuses on sustainable fashion brands, and included a panel discussion featuring Mother of Pearl creative director Amy Powney and model Lily Cole.
The labeling technology is powered by a near field communication, or NFC, chip that is unique to each garment and is also connected to the blockchain through an NFT digital twin. That aspect can track materials and components through a garment’s supply chain journey down to time stamps and other details.
“We can trace the garment back through how it has been produced and we can look into sustainability and traceability and make that visible for the customer,” Open.Mode cofounder Ras Gustavsen told WWD.
Customers can scan the hangtag for a deep dive on information. Open.Mode can also work with retailers on the specific parameters to be communicated. For Agora, the hangtags hold information about its four pillars: reduce, recycle, restore and rent.
As the fashion industry struggles with transparency and greenwashing, Open.Mode’s technology leans into specifics. “Labeling clothes simply ‘sustainable’ or ‘ethical’ or ‘50 percent recycled material’ is no longer enough,” said Agora cofounder Tiffanie Darke. “Customers need to understand the detail behind these claims and are hungry for reassurance that their purchases are exacting minimal harm on the planet.”
Open.Mode cofounder Neliana Fuenmayor noted the tech can fill gaps for smaller brands and multibrand retailers.
“The message can get very lost once it hits a shop floor, especially if it’s a department store and not your own store and you don’t necessarily have control over how the storytelling is being shared by the salesperson,” she said.
“I have spent the last five years unpicking the seams of my supply chain at Mother of Pearl so I can offer my customers garments which are transparent and take into account their impact on both people and planet,” said Powney.
Powney documented setting out to produce a collection with an ethical supply chain in the film “Fashion Reimagined” last year.
Fuenmayor noted that the tech can also have applications for authentication of luxury brands moving forward, as well as in resale if a customer passes an item on.
As Europe prepares for mandatory digital product passports, which are expected to start rolling out for textiles in 2026, the technology can help prep brands for the new regulations, Fuenmayor said.
“We’re essentially doing this because we want brands to start today to understand all the potential,” she said. “And also time to educate the brands, the suppliers, the lawmakers as to why we need more transparency and traceability.”
She also said they are working on taking the tech directly to suppliers to better map supply chains from the source.
HAPPY NUU YEAR: Designer Rachel Antonoff has partnered with rental service Nuuly on a holiday capsule collection “designed with rental in mind.”
“With all of our clothes, but especially rental, we give a great deal of thought to how each garment will stand the test of wear, especially when it needs to look and feel brand new for each new rental. We focused on fabrics and silhouettes that will keep their shape and are easily clean-able,” Antonoff told WWD of thinking through her design process.
Antonoff added that she sees rental as a sustainability solution. “I think rental is fantastic. I think we are all guilty of purchasing something, wearing it once or twice and then just letting it sit in your closet for the rest of time. Rental allows you to get the wear out of a piece without the waste aspect,” she said.
Famous for her bold prints, like last year’s viral Pasta Puffer jacket, Antonoff said rental can shift the definition of “new” to “new to you” and cut down on waste.
“I think that is incredibly powerful,” she added.
“We see a lot of demand in the early part of the holiday season as customers gear up for their events — rental is a great place to turn for those seasonal specific trends,” said Nuuly head of product Sky Pollard. “Our customer loves to rent conversational prints for the events that come this time of year.”
Antonoff has been a regular on the four-year-old platform since 2021. Her prints resonate with the young Nuuly customer, said Pollard.
Offering unusual collections and special collaborations “are a great way for us to highlight our favorite brand partners and offer items that customers cannot find elsewhere thereby justifying the price of their subscription,” Pollard added.
The Urban Outfitters Inc.-backed rental service now has more than 190,000 active subscribers, up from 150,000 in May, with more than 400 brands available for rental. “Purchases from rentals is not the main driver or goal for our business,” she added.