Luxury group Kering is introducing an organic cotton that is 100% scientifically traceable, thanks to a new supply chain transparency innovation.
Launched in partnership with Supima Cotton, Italian premium textiles company Albini Group, and forensic textile testing service Oritain, the aim is to validate product authenticity and instil consumer confidence.
It does so by using forensic science and statistical analysis to examine the chemical properties of the fiber, creating a unique chemical fingerprint that links it back to the field in which it was grown. This makes is possible to verify at every stage of its lifecycle that it hasn’t been substituted, blended or tampered with. Only an exact match shows that the organic cotton is authentic.
Cecilia Takayama, director of the materials innovation lab at Kering, said: “At Kering, we are focused on sustainable raw material sourcing and this innovative technology for our organic cotton supply chain will enable our Materials Innovation Lab greater visibility to verify farming best practices and fibre quality; ensure integrity within the supply chain; and guarantee alignment with our Kering Standards.”
She added that “traceability in fashion’s fragmented and global supply chains is imperative to create real change”.
Visibility of the supply chain has been the first big task for fashion businesses that have typically relied on various third party providers, with little awareness of exactly what goes into the textiles they then use.
Supplier transparency has historically been the industry’s best-kept secret, but such lists are increasingly now being published. The next step in this comes with a level of scientific and technical input to drive and verify authentication – which has to begin with fiber and fabric transparency.
Advancements in the chemical analysis of fibers, as seen here, is what makes it possible to match the identity of cotton to its inherent natural identifiers attained during growth, Marc Lewkowitz, president and chief executive officer at Supima, said.
Kering is ultimately looking to create industry standards for traceability. It is aiming to use this advance to implement complete supply chain verification for organic cotton production or the impact it has had on farmers, workers and the environment. The innovation contributes to the group’s 2025 goal of 100% supply chain traceability.
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