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Is traceability fashion's next frontier?

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Raw materials Credits: Loro Piana

Oritain, a New Zealand start-up with backing from luxury brand Chanel, has successfully raised 57 million dollars to bolster its position as a leader in product verification through traceability. The company employs a combination of data analysis and forensic science to ascertain the true origins of a product. The recent investment will support the further development of Oritain's forensic traceability business, which encompasses advanced technology for assessing the origins and composition of products, as well as an expanding "fingerprint" database used for identification purposes.

Led by investment group Highland Europe, Chanel has nearly doubled its previous investment in Oritain since their collaboration began in 2021, reported the Business of Fashion. Oritain currently offers software-as-a-service (SaaS) tools for investigating the origins of food and textiles, serving around 100 multinational companies, including renowned brands like Lacoste, Supima, and Primark, according to Tech Crunch. These companies rely on Oritain's solutions to ensure that they receive what they expect from their suppliers, guarantee customers receive authentic products, and remain compliant with their own environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policies, as well as the expanding array of regulations that incentivise and penalise adherence to responsible sourcing and production practices.

Identifying the origins of materials

Oritain's innovative auditing methodology combines forensic science and data analysis to identify naturally occurring elements within products or raw materials. Factors such as soil composition, climate, altitude, and precipitation all contribute to a product's "Origin Fingerprint," which serves as a definitive marker of its provenance. This Origin Fingerprint can be utilized to audit products at any point along the supply chain, differentiating genuine items from fraudulent ones.

Notably, Oritain's traceability approach cannot be tampered with, replicated, or destroyed, setting it apart from other methods.

As the fashion industry grapples with the complexities of global supply chains, traceability has emerged as a critical frontier. The growing consumer demand for transparency and sustainability necessitates robust traceability systems that track the entire production journey, from raw materials to finished garments. By embracing traceability, fashion brands can ensure ethical sourcing, monitor environmental impact, and detect any labour or safety violations. Improved supply chain insights, enhanced accountability, and the ability to build consumer trust are some of the key advantages offered by traceability. As the industry faces mounting pressure to address social and environmental concerns, traceability becomes an invaluable tool for driving positive change and promoting a sustainable and responsible future.

Sustainable Fashion