The E-P Summit by Pitti Immagine, a notable event in the fashion calendar, once again took center stage in 2024, bringing together visionaries from the fashion and technology sectors. This year’s edition was particularly groundbreaking, focusing on innovations that promise to redefine the industry’s framework. A highlight of the summit was the insightful discussion on the “Digital Product Passport Blueprint” (DPP Blueprint) introduced by The ID Factory, Certilogo S.p.A., Sopra Steria, and 4sustainability.

The E-P Summit 2024, hosted by Pitti Immagine, is an event that annually gathers the crème de la crème of the fashion tech world to discuss, dissect, and devise new strategies that integrate technology into fashion. 

From Complexity to Clarity: Strategic Map for Digital Product Passport Integration 

We are facing an issue that cannot be completely solved at the technological level; the technological component is only one piece of the puzzle. I believe the real problem lies in the mindset.

The panel revolved around three main challenges that a fashion brand encounters concerning the increasing need for traceability and transparency that laws and the market are demanding and will demand in the coming years.

Each problem presents possible solutions that our brand can choose from, representing the main responses we have gathered during all our meetings, calls, and demos.

Starting from the main driver behind the change, such as the “fear of regulations” and thus the entire world of compliance, we move to consumer trust and operational excellence.

First Challenge: Compliance

Last year, the first European law was approved in France requiring products to provide information about the traceability of the main production stages:

• Information on the percentage of recycled materials
• Information on the risk of microplastic release in products
• Initial information that should support the consumer at the time of purchase

If you want to learn more about the law, click here: AGEC Law

The AGEC law poses a significant challenge for the brand, which for the first time must rethink how it collects and shares product information externally.

This entails:
• An increase in operating costs for all its products, not just those in the French market
• A systemic increase that, if not managed, risks being more costly than the actual fine the company might incur

The brand can choose to:

• Adopt a short-term approach, solving the immediate problem to avoid fines without considering the future perspective
• Invest in establishing internal practices and processes for primary data collection involving suppliers, thus structuring this data collection system
• Do nothing and wait to see if France remains the only country or if the European Union will indeed decide to implement a more comprehensive and clear law on the subject for all member states

These options are real situations we have seen, known, and are in contact with.

Based on this experience, we have learned that only the second response is the feasible path. This concrete case shows how we, as a solution provider, can add value by supporting the brand in a strategic long-term approach to data collection.

Second Challenge: Customer Trust

The essential and fundamental element for connecting a product and making it “speak,” thus activating a DPP on a product, is equipping it with a Digital Marker: an object applied to the physical product that represents its digital identity.

However, to defend its reputation against counterfeits, a brand must recognize that no technology is inherently more secure than another.

There is an intelligent way to use the chosen technologies that are not based solely on recognizing what is authentic because it left the brand’s factory but also on identifying and intercepting what is not authentic because it did not leave the brand’s factory and has no right to associate with the brand or its contents.

Third Challenge: Operational excellence

Operational excellence has increasingly become a highly relevant topic in recent years.

A typical situation we face involves a corporate brand and the topic of digitalization linked to Digital ID, the digital twin, and dynamics that can come from compliance and extend to sustainability and marketing.

Projects typically start with trying to map all the desired outcomes from all departments, areas, and functions within the company.

These projects often require addressing enormous architecture needs to meet the requirements of numerous departments and functions within the company, connecting with numerous systems (we discussed a case where more than 20 systems needed to communicate).

Often, these projects do not reach completion: the project progresses, significant energy and financial resources are invested, and numerous actors are involved, but in the end, it is almost always realized that there is no single solution that can cover all these problems because everything is very much in flux and development: there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Perhaps we should start considering and looking at solutions, partners, and ecosystems of technological solutions that are already communicating and have already begun a path of integration and that share not only technological knowledge (as they are specialists in what they do because not everyone can be specialists in everything) but also share the values with which they carry out these projects.

From Tactics to Strategy: Digital Product Passport Blueprint

We have seen these three problems as the result of a tactical approach to the problem.

We need to address the emerging issues related to traceability, sustainability, and the Digital Product Passport with a different perspective.

Compliance is the driver of accelerating the process, but we must understand that collecting this data is a real asset. This type of structured information, while it must be used and collected for compliance purposes, can also be used and structured to develop new business models, thus creating business opportunities.

The importance of DPPs is not only for compliance, but it is also an opportunities for creating new business models and enhancing customer engagement. A strategic approach involves looking beyond immediate technological implementation to consider long-term impacts, potential regulatory changes, and evolving market demands.

The Digital Product Passport Blueprint represents a comprehensive framework that includes future compliance, ensures customer trust through reliable product verification, and achieves operational excellence by optimizing internal processes. Such a framework requires a holistic view of the organization’s strategy, operations, and the broader industry landscape.

Thanks to this framework, we have mapped over 60 tactical tasks, with many more likely to emerge. The important thing is to change perspective and look at this issue not tactically but strategically: the DPP will be an important tool but represents only one piece within a much larger and more demanding theme, which is the transition from a linear to a circular system, a colossal task that can only be resolved through collaboration among all involved actors.

Conclusion – Takeaways

These shifts are more than mere concepts; they represent the gears of responsible evolution that are already in motion within the fashion industry. The panel discussion was not only enlightening but also a call to action for all stakeholders in the fashion industry to start working on Digital Product Passport roadmaps.

The E-P Summit 2024 has set a new benchmark in how fashion will integrate with technology in the coming years. The Digital Product Passport Blueprint is at the forefront of this transformation, offering a strategic pathway to more sustainable, efficient, and consumer-centric operations: 

From Tactical to Strategic

The shift from tactical to strategic planning was a core theme of the discussion. Traditionally, fashion tech efforts have been reactive—quick fixes to immediate problems. However, the DPP Blueprint changes this narrative by serving as a strategic guide, encouraging long-term planning and implementation in digital transformations.

From General to Tailored

In the world of fashion, customization, and tailoring have always been at the forefront, but this philosophy is now extending into how digital solutions are conceived and implemented. The panel emphasized that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. Each brand requires a nuanced approach that respects its unique needs and structural idiosyncrasies.

From Silo to Ecosystem

Perhaps one of the most revolutionary ideas discussed by panelists like Michele Casucci and Massimo Brandellero was the move from siloed operations to a cohesive ecosystem. This approach fosters collaboration across various departments and companies, leading to better operational excellence and building customer trust through transparency.

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