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Technology and Fashion: A Match Made in the Lab

Slowly but surely, technology has been seeping into the life of the everyday fashionista. And while it won’t really affect shoppers directly for a while, it will definitely make an impact for the brands that use it. We’ve all heard of the concept of mixing clothing and science, but how exactly are brands putting this into practice? Well, with microchips of course (talk about futuristic!). 

Brands like Ferragamo and Moncler have begun to imbed their designs with microchips that, put simply, will attempt to stop counterfeiting from happening ever again. The knock-off industry is a booming billion dollar business that costs the brands it affects around $30 billion dollars a year, that’s about 10% of their yearly sales that results in having their names stamped on bad quality items. The issue with counterfeit items, is that it negatively affects the brands reputation and name but putting items on the market under their name, but not up to their quality standards.

Moncler, for example set up their Spring/Summer 2016 collection to come with RFID chips (radio frequency identification). These chips will come with a unique ID code with which customers will be able to authenticate their purchase by scanning it with their smartphones, or by entering the information in the newly created website. If all works well, Moncler has expressed their want to make sure all future collections come with this technology as well.
But Moncler is actually not the only high end fashion brand to use this technology in their designs. Ferragamo has been taking advantage of this invention since their Pre-Fall 2014 collection hit the stores. They started by placing the RFID chips into the left sole of all their women shoes, and has since expanded to include the measure to their women’s bags, men’s shoes, small leather goods, and luggage collections.

As this type of technology becomes more accessible to brands, we expect to see a growing amount of high end fashion companies implementing the measure. While it has its benefits for the consumer, like the previously mentioned authentication abilities, it also comes with quite a few scary negatives. Unless specifically deactivated, these chips could also function as GPS locators for the customer who bought the item. What would stop marketers from sending ads to where consumers are located 24/7? Or if the RFID chip is simply on the clothing tag, which can be removed and thrown out, couldn’t criminals scan the trash house by house to look for the more expensive items and then know who to target? Hopefully, by the time this technology hits the mainstream customer, these issues will be resolved. What do you think?

May 18, 2016 by Becca Sand
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