Blockchain in Fashion

Updated: Jul 26, 2021

Creating a live-updating global luxury catalogue for e-commerce and eNFTs in digital authencity cards

This article was originally published in Blockchain Industry Review - a Crypto Curry Club Magazine published monthly and available in soft copy and the printed version.

An Interview with Featured Contributor, Lindsey Mallon,

Co-founder of Splyt, Founder of Nadjarina, and CEO of Maison Du

Growing up Lindsey was not sure what she wanted to do. She initially considered architecture as a career but a stint as an intern in a practising architects office quickly confirmed her opinion that she did not want to work in front of a computer every day. Her father encouraged her to follow her passion. Shortly after she attended an haute couture fashion exhibition in Boston, and she was hooked.

“Instant love.”

For Lindsey art is not just art, it does something. It empowers people. At the same time, she is cognisant that the actual fashion industry can be toxic in terms of how people treat each other, and the labour standards are very low.

“I would work with these factories initially where people could not afford to go home to see their families or maybe went home once a year and that really struck a chord with me and pushed me to look at sustainable commerce.”

For Lindey this concept went beyond the environment and included labour standards, community, and how people work together. The beautiful industry has a dark underbelly, but she was in love.

“It’s not just me, consumers are starting to demand sustainable practices and that is making the industry react with stores pushing their sustainable brands to the fore. Customers want ethics, giveback programmes, brands donating to charities and transparency; they really want transparency."
“Every dollar spent is a vote.”

After graduating from art college, in the middle of the global financial crash, Lindsey knew she wanted her own brand. History shows that endeavours begun in hard times reap rewards when good times come around. Either way, Lindsey knew to launch her own brand she would need to know all sides of the business and so she worked in from design to development and all the way in between. She also relocated from New York to LA with her one-year-old child. It was a year of change and she worked for a range of fashion brands to get experience.

By 2019 she had enough experience to dip her toe into the water and founded Nadjarina, a conscious Luxury apparel brand with a focus on fair-trade, high quality materials old-world craftsmanship.

“Nadjarina is focused on labour standards as well as the bigger picture of what sustainability means to the community. People are interested in clothes that reflect their views.”

The Nadjarina brand is based on natural fabrics with a modern female mentality. According to Lindsey it pushes boundaries, gently. The modern female has many facets which can include being a businesswoman, a mother, and a sensual being.

“It’s too easy to be guilted into pigeonholes – why can’t we be more?”

Nadjarina wants to clothe the dynamic female and has had requests to move into male clothing. She probably will, as some of her designs are definitely androgynous. It is also one of the first brands to be onboarded to the Splyt blockchain marketplace – a platform on which she is co founder with Cyrus Taghehchian.

The combination of blockchain and fashion was a random occurrence for Lindsey. Turns out she met her soon-to-be co founder in a bar.

“Where you meet all your favourite business partners.”

It played out to be a very fast connection. Lindsey was already familiar with supply chains and payment methods. She was also concerned with building a sustainable business. Within 48 hours she had devoured everything to do with blockchain and was hooked. When Lindsey finds a passion, she finds it fast.

“The ethos of blockchain really made sense.”

Lindsey uses architectural examples to describe the Splyt ecosystem; in her analogy Splyt is the pipping under a city that connects water to all the buildings. It is Web3 and based on NFTs – long before NFTs became dinner table conversation fodder.

Built on blockchain, Splyt is open source. It decentralizes the entire ecommerce supply chain (does an Amazon if Amazon cared) and is a transparent solution matching product with digital outlets. Any retailer connected to the platform can pull inventory from a shared global catalogue. The stock is then displayed on the affiliate site and once the item is sold, the seller drop-ships it to the purchaser. Smart contacts, within the eNFT attached to each item, release agreed funds to both seller and brand. There are no fees as the site is set up as a not-for-profit.

Blockchain provides the security and removes the need for trust.

Lindsey sees COVID as the accelerant behind increased adoption of cryptocurrencies and going online – both of which positively impacts Splyt.

“It’s a powerful convergence of crypto friendly thinking, massive online sales and also a credit freeze. Many retailers don’t have cash flow and they can’t afford to carry stock so drop-ship solutions really appeal to them.”

Lindsey’s goal is to take this short-term thinking in response to the pandemic into long term business practice. NFTs are attached to the product to allow for provenance and proof of authenticity.

A retailer, say Net a Porter, lists one of Nadjarina’s pieces of clothing. As there is an eNFT attached to it, the retailer can point to its authenticity. Linsey can set up sales percentages, typically higher for the brand in this workflow, which go into the smart contract. This executes the release of funds upon sale – but there is another kicker here. Lindsey can track the life cycle of her clothing through the eNFT attached to it – an important rider when designing sustainable fashion.

In ten years from now the piece of clothing might still be visible online with details of the owners, value at each sale and geographic history showing. That has never been possible before for clothing belonging to the general public (as opposed to celebrity designer wear).

The intervention of blockchain technology facilitates this tracking and when combined with conscious consumers and a healthy resale market for vintage and second-hand clothing, it makes for powerful future reporting.

Having this data implicitly coded onto the eNFT will also be a game changer for big brands that currently do it all themselves through a variety of metadata and apps; it’s hard work without blockchain.

“People don’t want lots of apps for different brands – we universalize it and adopt it for all.”

Lindsey fell for blockchain in the same way she fell for fashion – hard. She recognises that both industries are dominated by men, but that currently fashion primarily sells to women and crypto less so. Her path is to educate not nag. She sees blockchain as fundamentally progressive despite the current male dominance. It is like her clothing – it can be female, it can be androgynous and soon it may include male items, or non-binary.

“We don't need to be somebody else or fill someone else’s shoes. That’s not us. You do you and I’ll do me.”

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