Cartier, Prada join LVMH in Blockchain Alliance

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LVMH takes action against counterfeits. Shutterstock.

Cartier, owned by Richemont, the world’s largest jewelry brand, and Milan fashion house Prada have joined the blockchain platform Aura, a product verification and tracking system launched by LVMH.

The companies’ “Blockchain Consortium” announced Tuesday that it is building on technology that the French luxury conglomerate first developed in 2019 with the help of Microsoft and ConsenSys, and is a rare example of the rival groups working together.

The shared platform, which the companies say is now open for all luxury brands to join, issues unique codes for individual products that allow consumers and sellers to access tamper-resistant ledgers containing information about the item, including authenticity, ownership history, and maintenance. and the origin of materials.

LVMH brands, including Louis Vuitton, Bulgari and Hublot, have been at the forefront of the system’s rollout since it was first announced two years ago. But since the early stages of the project, there has been behind-the-scenes consultations with Cartier and Prada, with the aim of creating a shared system that can be adapted to different segments and brands.

“It’s really important that there is a democratic process so that we can create a governance structure and a standard that works for both smaller brands and major brands,” said Timothy Iwata-Durie, Cartier’s global innovation officer and member of the Aura board. . Brands retain control over their own data. “Competitive” information about customers and supply chains will not be exchanged between brands in the platform, the statement said.

The attempt to establish an industry-wide blockchain system stems from a growing interest in secondhand fashion from environmentally conscious and price-sensitive consumers. The rise of resale has prompted more brands to mingle in the space, with the likes of Stella McCartney, Gucci and Alexander McQueen all collaborating on initiatives involving second-hand marketplaces.

It’s a big shift for the luxury market, which has long had reservations about the impact that second-hand sales can have on brand equity. Chanel and The RealReal are still involved in a long legal dispute.

That increases the commitment for brands and platforms to be able to efficiently and indisputably verify the authenticity of shoes, handbags and jewelry long after they leave the store.

A shared system can also help brands accelerate the progress of materials traceability. While components such as gems, furs and exotic leather hides can increasingly be traced back to the mines or farms they came from, tracing goods such as cotton and wool remains an elusive goal for most brands.

Not being able to guarantee that their wares are not made with cotton harvested by prison workers in China’s Xinjiang region is a challenge advocates say more consistent use of blockchain in fashion’s supply chain could help avoid.

Executives from Cartier, Prada and LVMH will now share power equally at the partnership board level. The Aura Blockchain Consortium will be run as a non-profit organization, with any proceeds reinvested in efforts aimed at “ improving customer relationships and brand protection. ”

Disclosure: LVMH is part of a group of investors who collectively own a minority stake in The Business of Fashion. All investors have signed the shareholder documentation which guarantees the full editorial independence of BoF.

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