Solution Spotlight: YKK launches digitally connected zippers in collaboration with Houdini and EON Product Cloud

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Changing the current practices of manufacturing and consumption is one of the ways in which society can thrive in a sustainable way. In the apparel industry, this vision is manifested in “circular fashion,” which we see more often every day.

YKK has been pioneering the adoption of more sustainable manufacturing practices, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing our use of sustainable materials, reducing our water usage, better managing our wastewater, and eliminating the use of harmful chemicals to support the transition to a more sustainable fashion industry. We are also investing in technologies that make use of connectivity and promoting industry collaboration. The latest partnership between YKK, sportswear brand Houdini and EON Group Holdings resulted in the creation of the NFC-enabled TouchLink™ zipper puller. There are many potential uses for TouchLink™, ranging from the acquisition of information on material composition and use and care of the garment to the development of a closer relationship between the user and the brand through enhanced consumer experiences.

In general, brands only have oversight of their products up to the point of sale. Once a garment is in the customer’s hands, brands usually lose track of it and have little power to unlock the full potential of the garment as a product. TouchLink™ enables brands to maintain a closer relationship with the customer and support new business models such as resale, rental, subscription, and recycling.

YKK’s TouchLink™ zipper puller is featured in Houdini’s digitized One Parka. Thanks to the product cloud platform created by EON, Houdini’s One Parka can be connected, managed, and stewarded across the product lifecycle. In turn, customers can touch their mobile phones to the TouchLink™ zipper puller on their Houdini One Parka to instantly connect to Houdini. This will give access to curated use- and care-guides, service, and support as well as provide opportunities to explore and co-create circular ways of life.

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 hope of encouraging more brands to digitize products and create scalable systems for circular commerce.

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