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British Clothing Brand Nobody’s Child Offers an Environmental X-ray Using New Digital Product Passport

LONDON British clothing label Nobody’s Child is tearing a page out of the luxury goods handbook, adding a digital product passport to its responsibly sourced clothing collections.

Following a successful pilot for fall 2023, the accessibly priced women’s brand is rolling out the QR passport codes starting Tuesday with a collection called Happy Place.

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Happy Place was created in tandem with English broadcaster and author Fearne Cotton, and is made from responsible fabrics including organic cotton and plant-based materials.

Nobody’s Child x Happy Place by Fearne Cotton will be sold on nobodyschild.com, in the brand’s stores, and at retailers such as Marks & Spencer and John Lewis. Prices range from 45 pounds to 120 pounds.

Nobody’s Child, which launched in 2015, said it is one of the first fashion brands outside the luxury sector to work with a digital product passport.

It gathered, tracked and translated more than 100 data points relating to the life of the garment, from the processing of raw materials to the yarn and fabric mills and the factories where the products are sewn together.

“When paired with blockchain technology, digital product passports have unparalleled power to validate the provenance of products as they exchange hands throughout their life, aligning perfectly with the growth of the pre-loved market,” the company said.

The aim is to “increase transparency, champion more sustainable values, and foster a deeper connection” with the Nobody’s Child community.

Nobody’s Child also wanted to “future-proof” the business and get ahead of upcoming EU product transparency legislation by ensuring that all key information is captured, catalogued and relayed in a clear way to consumers.

Jody Plows, chief executive officer of Nobody’s Child, said in an interview the digital passport has been “the biggest sustainability project that we’ve worked on, and something we’re really passionate about. We were aware that EU legislation would be coming into place over the next few years, and our aim is to be leaders in this space from a compliance point of view.”

She added the company has very strong relationships with suppliers “and we embarked on a collaboration with them to understand every step of the product life cycle,” before creating the passport.

The pilot piqued customers’ interest last year, and Plows said there was no turning back. “We had shoppers coming into store asking to see the QR codes so they could try it out for themselves before making a purchase.”

After scanning a QR code on the care label, customers can view details about the materials, manufacturing process and environmental impact of their clothing.

The passports can also be used for after-care, offering recommendations on how customers can reduce the environmental impact and extend the life of their garment. There are links to circular services such as repair and rental.

Plows said the ambition is to become “fully traceable and transparent,” with a view to rolling out digital product passports across the core collection from the fall 2024 season. As the months pass, more features will be added.

“The technology will be developed, allowing customers to return to the digital product passport for different experiences, gifts, and forms of digital communication. Even from the first launch, we’ve added increased transparency across the supply chain tiers, [details of] product water-usage and carbon information,” said Plows.

EU regulations are also likely to develop “and we’ve been mindful that we might have to adapt to these,” she dded.

To enrich the experience, all customers who scan the QR code can sign up to receive exclusive gifts, including a unique NFT that acts as a digital receipt that can be stored in a Coinbase digital wallet, the company said.

The tech is powered by Fabacus, a company founded by the serial entrepreneur Andrew Xeni. He is also the founder of Nobody’s Child.

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