Tommy Hilfiger embeds smart chips in new fashion line

Fashion label Tommy Hilfiger will be releasing a smart-chip technology clothing line that offers consumers merchandise points and rewards.

This technological fashion innovation, which Hilfiger announced Wednesday through fashion website WWD, will comprise men’s, women’s and unisex wear that has embedded Awear Solutions Bluetooth technology. The chip inside the clothing can track when and how often consumers wear the brand via the iOS Tommy Jeans Xplore app.

This new fashion is not to be confused with Google and Levi’s tech partnering for “Project Jacquard” that provides a high-tech “smart jacket” offering easier access to calls, texts, music controls and more.

With Xplore, users can score points and specific rewards with the brand for each time they wear the Hilfiger clothing. Rewards can be translated into merchandise or even concert tickets through the brand partnership with Live Nation.

The marketing strategy was introduced to cultivate a “micro-community of brand ambassadors,” Hilfiger said in a statement.

Some tech press, like TechCrunch, have been very critical of the new idea.

“The company hasn't actually innovated here. At best, it's a loyalty program requiring customers to overspend in order to join," it said.

Technology blog Engadget raised its own questions about data privacy and control.

Alternatively, Liron Slonimsky, chief executive officer and founder of Awear Solutions, told WWD that this invention will finally allow the brand to understand what the consumer does with the product once it leaves the store – something that retail companies are very rarely able to do.

“Tommy Hilfiger’s innovative history has shown that it understands what consumer engagement truly is and we knew they would be the perfect partner to launch Awear Solutions to the market,” Slonimsky told WWD.

Men and women can find hoodies, crewneck sweatshirts, T-shirts, jeans, hats and more in this new Xplore line – with prices consistent with the original fashion lines, ranging from $29 to about $139.

Hilfiger’s new fashion technology is sold exclusively online in the U.S. and in the company’s New York flagship store.