US outdoor apparel retailer LL Bean has partnered with technology firm Loomia to explore how blockchain technology can be used to extend the use and performance of clothing.

The companies will assess data from Loomia-enabled LL Bean outerwear to gain insight on the use rate of products returned under the fashion retailer's 100% satisfaction guarantee.

The first tests will be carried out on merchandise such as jackets and boots that incorporate Loomia Electronic Layer (LEL). The LEL, which is composed of a flexible circuitry, can heat, light and sense yet remains washable, dryable and discreet.

LL Bean will research implementing Loomia's circuitry to collect data from apparel including information around temperature, motion, and frequency of wear. Once this data is collected, consumers will be able to share it back with the brand for rewards via the Loomia Tile – a component that allows for the secure and anonymous transfer of data.

Other use cases include incorporating Loomia's heating elements into LL Bean signature products, such as enabling them to warm hikers' toes or provide an extra layer of warmth on the coldest winter days. The two firms says these solutions will present some of the first tech-enabled products to conquer the rigid and bulky design typically seen with other heating and sensing applications that have restricted wearable tech from advancing.

Loomia's technology has been used by clients such as Google, The North Face, and Calvin Klein. The company says its technology, centred on the human experience, is building an economy where consumers and brands are aligned on making better products through analysing consumer-generated data. These innovative data insights are secured through blockchain technology and are governed by the expressive consent of consumers to share their data in a mutually beneficial and seamless exchange.

Blockchain technology has the potential to transform the way information and transactions are captured, owned, stored, and shared among companies and whole ecosystems – and thus radically increase transparency across the supply chain. It is being increasingly adopted by companies in the textile and apparel industry. 

Earlier this year, US commodities specialist The Seam set up what is thought to be the first trading system for the global cotton industry built on blockchain technology.

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