MILAN — As the pandemic has accelerated the digital push and further awakened consumers’ environmental and social consciousness, many companies are tapping both trends to shape the fashion industry of the future.
Italy’s Idee Brand Platform, for one, has developed an online destination, dubbed the Sustainable Brand Platform, that uses blockchain technology to offer environmental and ethical ratings for international emerging fashion brands.
Set to launch on Monday, the project intends to support indie labels in assessing and cataloging their sustainable assets, as well as enhancing their visibility by connecting them with international retailers and consumers.
“This platform has to serve, first and foremost, this industry’s operators such as buyers… also in terms of scouting activity, as their job has become increasingly complex,” said Alex Albini, Idee Brand Platform founder and chief executive officer.
This is one of the key differences that Albini says differentiates his project from the Australian ethical fashion rating app Good On You. Defined by Albini as a benchmark in this area, Good On You is more oriented to final consumers, whereas Sustainable Brand Platform intends to answer the demands of novelty, sustainability and transparency of both retailers and customers.
Another point of difference resides in “the blockchain technology we apply to link all the information that are essential to evaluate a brand and claim it as sustainable,” Albini said.
In particular, the web site rates brands’ commitment and results in terms of sustainability and social corporate responsibility by examining the different phases of their value chains, including the sourcing of raw materials, production processes, packaging and logistics, as well as the company’s “giving back” strategy and charity commitment.
Focusing on objective and qualitative criteria, the rating takes into consideration elements including the number of international certifications obtained by each company and details on productive and distributive processes. Each label will also have the opportunity to highlight the sustainable goals it has set for the future in the dedicated “Agenda 2030” box.
Featuring an intuitive and minimal layout, each brand’s page will additionally showcase key background information and direct links to the respective web site and social media accounts.
Companies can register on the web site upon payment, but their sustainability claims still have to be vetted first.
“There’s a process of brand selection that is essential to investigate the real commitment of a label in sustainability and to avoid any case of greenwashing,” said Albini. Currently, three people are dedicated to evaluating companies’ assets as well as to overall scouting activities, which are mainly pursued through direct contacts and online researches.
At launch, the platform will showcase a small range of companies, including Italian ready-to-wear brand Eticlò, Les Petits Basics T-shirts and accessories label Bonchey, among others.
Albini foresees a specific target of fashion and design aficionados aged 25 to 40 to be particularly reactive and engaged in this approach, but also confides in the positive feedback from a “Gen Z [audience], which would mean we are doing a good job.”
Asked about the ultimate mission he has for this venture, Albini said he would like the platform “to become a trusted and respected reference point in the industry and that it can join forces with other players” in blurring the lines between fashion and sustainability. “I hope it will become a guide consulted by all operators before approaching a brand and by final customers before making a purchase.”
Albini has been working for this cause for the past year but the development process accelerated during the lockdown. “In about six months, we developed the first version of our algorithm and platform and implemented the blockchain technology,” he said.
The project will also serve to expand Idee Brand Platform’s network. Founded in 2019 by Albini and Claudio Delunas, this is an integrated service company supporting international fashion and design brands in the development of merchandising and commercial strategies.
A spin-off of Idee Partners — which develops and produces leather goods and footwear — Idee Brand Platform also operates the Tora Tora showroom promoting emerging labels and counting physical units in Milan and Paris as well as a digital counterpart.
An economics graduated from Milan’s Luigi Bocconi University, Albini matured a 10-year professional experience across different entrepreneurial sectors. He is partner of Roy Srl, a company operating in the entertainment and event industry, but also worked for Marc Jacobs and the LVMH group before joining Idee Partners, where he covered roles including chief financial officer and business developer.