What is a Digital ID?

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In 2021, HM King Charles’s Sustainable Markets Initiative’s Fashion Taskforce launched a groundbreaking concept to provide traceability in the luxury fashion sector. A year on, the Digital ID concept is a reality for us, with a small number of our AW22 products carrying information on each component. An increased number of our products will carry a Digital ID as we move forwards.


A Digital ID takes the form of a QR code inside a product, revealing information about the product's provenance and how to care for it. This traceability allows customers to understand the garment's journey from raw materials to store and to make considered buying decisions.


The SMI’s Fashion Taskforce is a group committed to leading and encouraging the global fashion, textile and apparel sectors, working to accelerate the transition towards a more sustainable future. The Fashion Taskforce has been working on a Digital ID system designed to inform consumers of the sustainability credentials of their garments through the development of verifiability around what can be considered a sustainable fashion product. The group is also exploring how regenerative farming practices across raw materials can reverse the damage being done to the planet.

The Fashion Taskforce operates as an industry sub-group of the SMI and is chaired by Federico Marchetti, Founder of the YOOX Net-a-Porter Group. Its members are drawn from across a range of brands, platforms and retailers from all over the world, including Johnstons of Elgin, Aura Blockchain Consortium, Brunello Cucinelli, Burberry, Chloé, Eon, Gabriela Hearst, Giorgio Armani, Moda Operandi, Mulberry, Selfridges, Stella McCartney, The Dubai Mall, Vestiaire Collective and Zalando.

...this new Digital ID shows how business is committed to meaningful, measurable change, providing customers with the information they need to make cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable choices.
- HM King Charles III


At the time of the concept’s launch, HM King Charles III said, ‘People have the right to know if what they buy is created sustainably, and there is a responsibility to tell them if we truly believe in the shared principles of transparency, accountability and enforcement. Fashion is one of the most polluting sectors in the world, but this new Digital ID shows how business is committed to meaningful, measurable change, providing customers with the information they need to make cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable choices. It shows that business doesn't just talk about these issues but has taken action.’

Johnstons of Elgin Limited Edition Balmacaan Coat shot on a Scottish moorland and worn with brown cords and a green beanie
Johnstons of Elgin Limited Edition Black and White Stewart Tartan Cape shot on a Scottish moorland and worn with a black cashmere beanie


Two key products in our collection will carry a Digital ID this season. The Balmacaan Coat and The Stewart Check Cape were designed to celebrate our 225 anniversary, showcasing our exceptional craftsmanship. Both pieces hold a touch of tradition, with the Balmacaan featuring a tweed pattern from our own archives and the cape a design inspired by the Black and White Stewart tartan.

Full details of the origins of their fibres, the Balmacaan Coat’s lining, thread and buttons are contained in the Digital ID.


At the launch of the Digital ID concept in Rome, Chair of the Fashion Taskforce Federico Marchetti said, ‘The time for only talk is over. In such a highly competitive industry, it is unprecedented for so many different brands and platforms from all around the world to work together on a single innovative solution, and I am delighted to say this commitment is the result of an incredible group of companies and their leaders who recognize there is no time left to lose in transitioning the industry to a more transparent and sustainable footing. This Digital ID provides a genuine opportunity for consumers to make truly sustainable choices when they are making their purchases. In an industry that needs to do so much more to improve its impact on the environment, this is a huge step forward and only the beginning of the Taskforce’s journey.’

Discover more about our commitment to sustainability on our Sustainability Hub.

The Balmacaan Ultimate Luxe Edit