Avery Dennison and EVRYTHNG are taking smart clothing to a new level with their commitment to connect 10 billion products.

EVRYTHNG chief executive officer Niall Murphy and Avery Dennison vice president and general manager of global RFID Francisco Melo, neither of whom are fashion professionals, detailed how they’re making this ambitious goal a reality and showcased some of the most forward-thinking smart products, including their latest collaboration on a bag with Rebecca Minkoff to Campaign global technology editor Emily Tan.

Brands are challenged with how to maintain relationships with consumers on an ongoing basis and connected apparel allows the ability to interact with the consumer throughout the supply chain in real time.

Feeding data from the consumer is one thing, but what’s in it for the wearer?

Murphy pointed to a smart jacket that offers the consumer the opportunity to engage with the brand, community and environment of artists and designers, with the jacket becoming a ticket to locations, services and experiences.

Discussing unique digital identities, he said that apparel is a dynamic object that brings services with it that can create physical emotions through interactions. The value should provide a loyalty connection with the brand but it can be difficult to be connected to a physical product item unless it can talk, participate and influence the consumer relationship.

But how do consumers feel about privacy? According to Murphy, the first step is always for the consumer to proactively identify themselves to the product and opt in to sharing information, with access to community and services in exchange. There must be a reasonable value opportunity with no untoward features from a tracking perspective.

Looking to the future, there will be more integration. Murphy said that marketing today is characterised by huge amounts of inefficiency. The idea of the bag started with instore experience, but then considering how a consumer could learn about the product, the conversation evolved into what could be done with the customer after the point of purchase to ensure repeat custom.

So in the future, if you see a jumper you love, you can tap on it and it will be waiting for you when you get home, with the panellists predicting a massive transformation of the apparel industry in the next two to three years. Products will be born digital, imbued with a digital identity and capability critical for consumer relationships.

“The industry is growing,” said Melo. “Now the production capability is here at scale, it’s prime time. We are seeing consumers asking for it.”