The blockchain is a system that keeps track of and records data and, if implemented well, could lead the fashion industry to become truly conscious and fair.

In 2022, the blockchain can be an efficient means for a brand to monitor their supply and value chain, which means the ability to track from everything from raw materials to final product, as well to the end user. Also, it allows consumers to be aware of the ethical and environmental standards that the brand follows. Nowadays it’s easy for every fashion brand to claim they are sustainable, but it’s difficult to prove if transparency does not exist within their guidelines. The blockchain can preserve and maintain the integrity of the brand.

Rouba Ghassan El Murr, the founder of Rouba.G, is the first Arab designer to use the blockchain to power transparency in the industry. Challenged to push the boundaries, possessing a singular style and the prowess necessary to flourish in the industry, Rouba.G has a message to convey through every single collection. Here’s Pulse’s conversation with the designer, where we spoke about the role the blockchain can play in fashion.

We’ve been told you’re restructuring your business to concentrate on transparency and the blockchain. When will this launch and who is helping you achieve this?

Yes, we’ve been working on specific ethical standards for some time now, which includes supporting indigenous cultures, supporting victims of human trafficking, by collaborating with NGOs worldwide that protect these victims, and transparency in our supply chain starting from the concept and design to the finished garment. Also, we are working on getting certificates that prove our ethical standards that are updated yearly to fit conscious goals. We will be launching our new e-commerce website by the end of July where we shed light on the role of ethics and the importance of transparency in our brand values, which will involve QR codes that are the beginning of our journey in the blockchain system. We hope that in a year from now the brand will enable full transparency through the help of professionals who will develop a proper integration within the supply chain and value chain monitoring system.

What will the QR code on each of your garments indicate?

Because we believe that our consumers have the right to know everything about the collections we create and produce, starting from the concept to the finished piece, and whatever falls in between, we are creating a QR code for each garment so that the end user will be able to scan it and know who made their garments, how they are made and under what conditions, where the raw material is sourced from and if the source is reliable, if the workers work under ethical standards that are parallel to the brand’s ethical guidelines. They’ll also be able to monitor how the concept is selected and what the sources of inspiration are, meaning that all the ideas are owned by the brand and not stolen from any other brand or culture, and, not to forget, how the workers are treated and if they are getting good salaries. In other words, we want to be as close to, and as real with, our consumers as we can be to assure them that they are buying luxury items that seek a change, not just on an environmental level, but also a change for humanity.

Can you name a few ways for a fashion brand to build transparency?

When a brand admits that they are not perfect when it comes to sustainability, the journey in building transparency begins. It is never too late for a fashion brand to build transparency and it starts from the core of the organization. Meaning that the brand should consider the three main pillars mentioned previously (economic, environmental, and ethical) homogeneously and equally in order to guide the brand to a sustainable path. The website plays a huge role in building up transparency and it’s the easiest tool to start the journey of transparency in the supply chain and value chain. Also, certifications from sustainable experts are important and efficient, because these certifications are built on specific guidelines and standards that the brand has to follow and enhance to keep them valid.

Tell us more about your education and how can it help create a more sustainable fashion industry.

I majored in Luxury and Fashion Management with a concentration in Ethics, and throughout my studies I focused on ethics in the luxury industry, which turned out to be lacking and obscure. As a start I’d like to note that sustainability is not something that any industry can achieve in one day, in fact we are often misled by statements about being sustainable without understanding how sacred the word is. My degree helped me understand that, as an entrepreneur, ethical, environmental, and economic responsibilities are core values to every brand that seeks to make change in this world, even if it’s only a one percent change. Ethics requires so much humility and understanding of humanity. Humans are part of this environmental system that we claim to care for, we cannot treat our planet fairly if we cannot respect and care for one another. Being environmentally conscious and ethically responsible is actually a luxury.