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| 1 minute read

Is The New Luxury A Hoodie With Its Own Soundtrack? Balenciaga Says Yes.

Would you be more likely to purchase a new luxury brand garment if it unlocked access to an exclusive musical soundtrack?  Balenciaga's new hoodies and shirts offer a bespoke and exclusive 8 ½ minute track from Archive entitled ‘Patterns,’ as well as a seven-hour playlist curated by Archive.  The tie-in to music is part of artistic director Demna's vision for Balenciaga's brand identity, and positioned as much more than a tech gimmick.  

Music is a big part of my life and is an integral part of Balenciaga’s culture. … Balenciaga Music was created to share my favorite musical artists and their personal tastes and influences. We have now expanded this project to give a more personal and complete music experience with exclusive content and interactive technology.

Balenciaga partnered with Eon to utilize digital product passport (DPP) technology to embed the music in the garment's digital identity.  From Eon's perspective, this is contraposed to the recent metaverse trends, offering a physical “in real life” (IRL), gateway to exclusive digital content, rather than the other way around.  

By electing to create a DPP, Balenciaga will have the option to associate other features with the garment in the future - a smart move as “the European Union will announce standards for digital product passports in 2025, with 18 months for brands to implement them."  Though the U.S. is not as far along the regulatory path with DPPs, the American Apparel & Footwear Association has urged the U.S. Congress to direct the FTC to require digital product labeling, hailing the benefits for sustainability, accessibility and consumer safety. 

The Aura Blockchain Consortium (a nonprofit tailored to the luxury industry founded by LVMH, Prada Group, Richemont, OTB and others) touts these potential benefits of DPPs for luxury brands in particular:

DPPs serve a multitude of purposes for luxury brands, from traceability, authenticity and ownership, diversifying revenue streams (e.g., E-warranty, Loyalty Programs, Lost & Stolen Goods Protection, NFT Gifting), to enriching CRM databases for direct customer communication, and delivering new and innovative customer experiences.

Luxury brands reportedly using Aura's DPP include Dior, Loro Piana and Prada, while Chloe and Mulberry have each indicated plans to launch digital IDs by 2025 using Eon's technology.

This is certainly an area for brands to monitor.  In addition to planning for regulatory compliance in connection with required product information, brands might ideate ways to employ DPP technology authentically to increase consumer engagement with their products, whether through music (like Balenciaga), augmented or virtual reality, or other IRL and interactive experiences.

It’s a new step for connected clothing, which has typically embedded items with product information, ... and the first time that a brand has used a DPP to offer exclusive access to a song.


luxury, fashiontech, connectedproducts, digitalproductpassport, dpp, blockchain, luxury brands