Pioneering EON & YKK Technology to Connect Products in a Circular Apparel System!
Swedish Circular Sportswear brand Houdini is setting a new standard for product circularity – digitizing its iconic One Parka, launching August 2021, and committing to digitizing and connecting all its garments to the cloud by 2023 as part of Houdini’s pledge to transition its entire ecosystem to 100% circular by 2030.
Made possible by a new partnership between EON (US) & YKK Fastening Products Group (JP), Houdini’s digitized One Parka is the first product to feature YKK’s new Touchlink™ NFC zipper pull, and the first parka to be connected end-to-end by the EON Product Cloud.
Creating digital profiles for each of Houdini’s products so that they can be connected, managed and stewarded across lifecycles via the EON Product Cloud unlocks capacities throughout the Houdini ecosystem. Connected garments lower the threshold to circular business models such as resale, rental, subscription, and recycling. It also enables Houdini to digitize and reinforce its relational business model, distancing further from the transactional customer relationships that have long defined retail.
Turning the product into a communications channel, connected products open a direct and continuous connection between brand and customers.By simply touching their mobile phones to YKK’s NFC enabled zipper pull on their Houdini One Parka, customers will instantly connect to Houdini and access curated use- and care-guides, service and support as well as opportunities to explore and co-create circular ways of life.
“Digitizing our circular ecosystem, we are replacing silos with an interconnected system and transactions with relations – dismantling two of the biggest barriers for the circular transition”, explains Jesper Danielsson, Head of Design & Product at Houdini Sportswear. “Just as our responsibility as a brand doesn’t end when we sell a product, the relationship with Houdini doesn’t end there – it continues through use, care, reuse and next life. Connecting our products, we aim to deliver a richer customer experience and foster long term relationships with products, community and the planet.”
Houdini’s initiative demonstrates the crucial role of connected products in solving fashion’s biggest barriers to circular business model transformation – creating a measurable platform for increases in customer lifetime value, and in revenue generated per item through digitization. Houdini, EON, and YKK are together committing to sharing the processes and toolkit with the apparel industry, in the hopes of encouraging more brands to digitize products and create scalable systems for circular commerce.
“Continuity of commerce is the mission-critical step to maintaining customer relationships and unlocking circular fashion”, says Natasha Franck, Founder and CEO of EON. “Together, EON, YKK, and Houdini are doing just that: creating a whole new universe of customer engagement that can continue far beyond the initial use of a garment to unlock the full potential of each product and customer relationship. The opportunities are exponential, and we’re only just scratching the surface.”
Without a way to connect to products across their lifecycle, brands have historically lost control of their products and connectivity with their customers after initial sale. The partnership between EON and YKK solves these challenges across hardware and software: EON is the first end-to-end platform ecosystem in fashion retail, and YKK introduces one of the first commercially viable solutions for durable and washable embedded physical solutions for digital enablement of connected apparel with the TouchLink™ zipper pull.
“One of the advantages of YKK’s TouchLink™ technology is that it establishes a branded touch-point on the product, where the customer knows they can connect directly with the brand throughout the product’s entire lifecycle”, explains Terry Tsukumo, Vice President of YKK’s Global Marketing Group. “The NFC chip is molded into the zipper puller which completely encases it making it highly resistant to moisture and breakage and ensuring permanence and durability crucial for guiding the garment through a growing circular ecosystem.”