Skip to Content

YKK TouchLink Connects Products in a Circular Apparel System

Sharing is caring!

YKK TouchLink Zipper on a Houdini One Parka.
YKK TouchLink Zipper on a Houdini One Parka.

Some exciting new technology just hit the market that makes sustainable outdoor gear and apparel even more eco-responsible! YKK, together with EON and Houdini Sportswear have launched the first outdoor apparel with innovative new tech that helps promote product circularity. That means recyclable gear just got a lot easier to recycle at the end of its useable life thanks to YKK TouchLink. Read more in this press release and find out where to find this new tech.

Sustainable Gear: Closing the Circularity Gap with New YKK TouchLink Technology

Press Release, July 27, 2021: Swedish Circular Sportswear brand Houdini is setting a new standard for product circularity – digitizing its iconic One Parka, launching August 2021, and committing to digitizing and connecting all its garments to the cloud by 2023 as part of Houdini’s pledge to transition its entire ecosystem to 100% circular by 2030.

Made possible by a new partnership between EON & YKK, Houdini’s digitized One Parka is the first product to feature YKK’s new Touchlink™ NFC zipper pull, and the first parka to be connected end-to- end by the EON Product Cloud.

Creating digital profiles for each of Houdini’s products so that they can be connected, managed, and stewarded across lifecycles via the EON Product Cloud unlocks capacities throughout the Houdini ecosystem. Connected garments lower the threshold to circular business models such as resale, rental, subscription, and recycling. It also enables Houdini to digitize and reinforce its relational business model, distancing further from the transactional customer relationships that have long defined retail.

Turning the product into a communications channel, connected products open a direct and continuous connection between brand and customers. By simply touching their mobile phones to YKK’s NFC enabled zipper pull on their Houdini One Parka, customers will instantly connect to Houdini and access curated use- and care-guides, service, and support as well as opportunities to explore and co-create circular ways of life.

“Digitizing our circular ecosystem, we are replacing silos with an interconnected system and transactions with relations – dismantling two of the biggest barriers for the circular transition. Just as our responsibility as a brand doesn’t end when we sell a product, the relationship with Houdini doesn’t end there – it continues through use, care, reuse, and next life. Connecting our products, we aim to deliver a richer customer experience and foster long term relationships with products, community and the planet.” –Jesper Danielsson, Houdini’s Head of Product.

Houdini’s initiative demonstrates the crucial role of connected products in solving fashion’s biggest barriers to circular business model transformation – creating a measurable platform for increases in customer lifetime value, and in revenue generated per item through digitization. Houdini, EON, and YKK are together committing to sharing the processes and toolkit with the apparel industry, in the hopes of encouraging more brands to digitize products and create scalable systems for circular commerce.

“Continuity of commerce is the mission-critical step to maintaining customer relationships and unlocking circular fashion. Together, EON, YKK, and Houdini are doing just that: creating a whole new universe of customer engagement that can continue far beyond the initial use of a garment to unlock the full potential of each product and customer relationship. The opportunities are exponential, and we’re only just scratching the surface.” –Natasha Franck, Founder & CEO, EON

Without a way to connect to products across their lifecycle, brands have historically lost control of their products and connectivity with their customers after initial sale. The partnership between EON and YKK solves these challenges across hardware and software: EON is the first end-to-end platform ecosystem in fashion retail, and YKK introduces one of the first commercially viable solutions for durable and washable embedded physical solutions for digital enablement of connected apparel with the TouchLink™ zipper pull.

YKK TouchLink Zipper on a Houdini One Parka.
YKK TouchLink Zipper on a Houdini One Parka.

“One of the advantages of YKK’s TouchLink technology is that it establishes a branded touch-point on the product, where the customer knows they can connect directly with the brand throughout the product’s entire lifecycle. The NFC chip is molded into the zipper puller which completely encases it making it highly resistant to moisture and breakage and ensuring permanence and durability crucial for guiding the garment through a growing circular ecosystem.” –Terry Tsukumo, Vice President of YKK’s Global Marketing Group

What YKK TouchLink Means for Sustainability

When the garment reaches the end of its life, TouchLink helps ensure it gets properly processed to become the feedstock for new products (i.e. recycled into something new). Having the gardens materials permanently attached enables easier sorting by recyclers, ensuring it receives the correct end-of-life processing.

In layman’s terms: it makes recyclable materials easier to actually recycle.

About Houdini

Houdini is an odd band of friends from Sweden on a quest to reimagine the future of circular sportswear. Ever since the start in 1993 Houdini has challenged the norms of the outdoor industry, as a company led by women, as innovators of sustainable design and as pioneers of circular business models. Ultimately Houdini wants to enable and inspire people to reconnect to nature.
Discover more about Houdini:

About EON

EON is the leading Product Cloud platform in fashion retail — powering industry’s Network for Connected Products. EON digitizes physical garments to provide brands the digital backbone to connect directly to customers, power sustainability and circular business models, and access unprecedented insights and intelligence. The leading Internet of Things platform in fashion retail, EON is the first platform to connect products from new to re-new, and the only platform at the heart of fashion retail with a global Partner Network. EON pioneered industry’s CircularID™ Protocol to facilitate data-exchange across the circular economy. Eon’s partners and clients include: YOOX Net-a- Porter, H&M, PVH Corp, Target, Nanushka, Gabriela Hearst, Accenture, SAP, Microsoft, Trove, GS1 and more.

About YKK

Since the company’s founding in Tokyo in 1934, YKK has continuously set industry standards for quality, service, value, and innovation in the production of zippers, plastic hardware, hook and loop fasteners, webbing tapes, and snap and buttons. With integrated production and supply systems in 72 countries and regions around the world, YKK is positioned to meet the needs of the many industries we serve as they increasingly diversify and require shorter product cycles. Guided by the CYCLE OF GOODNESS® philosophy – no one prospers without rendering benefit to others – YKK aims to contribute to a sustainable society through its products and manufacturing operations and constantly seeks new ways to serve the changing needs of its customers while at the same time investing in its employees and giving back to its communities.

The new technology will soon be available (August 2021) in the Houdini One Parka for men and women.

This post contains affiliate links, which means purchases you make after clicky-clicking may help support Terradrift! But don’t worry! You won’t pay a dime more for your dope new pants.