The new outdoor performance brand ARTILECT has adopted YKK’s Touchlink™ Near Field Communication (NFC) enabled zipper for its Fall/Winter 2022 line, deploying the technology on seventeen different styles for men and women.
With the adoption of Touchlink™ fasteners, ARTILECT aims to provide its consumers with richer user experiences and enhanced product functionality. With a tap of their smartphone on the Touchlink™ zipper, customers can access product information, register their warranty, get care instructions, and a host of other functions, including safety benefits offered by the Lifekey™ software platform.
“ARTILECT is a brand founded on next-level innovation and technology. The ability to interact with our consumer before purchase, during use, and at the end of a product’s life is critical,” says Trent Bush, Founder of ARTILECT. “Many of the innovations in our apparel systems are invisible, and TouchLink™ zippers allow ARTILECT consumers to get a deeper understanding of the technology in their garment, as well as confirming the authenticity of the product they have purchased. We worked on the development of these specific TouchLink™ zippers for the last two years and are very excited to get them to market.”
In addition to giving access to important product information, the Touchlink™ fastener provides ARTILECT customers the ability to check in with family or friends before and after outdoor activities and even dispatch first responders in an emergency. These opt-in safety features powered by the Lifekey™ software platform can be triggered with a tap of a smartphone to the Touchlink™ zipper.
The Touchlink™ fastener is also helping ARTILECT achieve its circularity goals by making key information about the garment available to anyone with a smartphone, helping to facilitate garment resale, repair, and recycling. It eases the barriers that hinder these types of services due to lack of information.
“We see the Touchlink™ fastener not only as a portal for brands to provide their customers a unique brand experience unmatched by other technologies,” says Terry Tsukumo, Vice President of YKK’s Global Marketing Group, “but as an important component for offering new safety features and enabling new circular business models.”
One of the advantages of the technology used for YKK’s Touchlink™ fastener is its permanence and durability. The NFC chip is molded into the zipper puller, which completely encases it, making it highly resistant to moisture and breakage. “A zipper puller is very unlikely to be removed by consumers, unlike a care tag or label, and embedding the NFC chip in the puller gives it durable protection from washing or breakage,” explains Tsukumo.
Besides being the first US brand to use the Touchlink™ fastener, ARTILECT is also the world’s first brand to adopt two additional new YKK innovative products, a water repellent concealed zipper and a user-repairable detachable slider function. These two innovations allow ARTILECT to create sleek, weatherproof functional garments built to endure heavy use in challenging conditions. The concealed, water repellent zipper allows for protected ventilation, while the detachable slider function makes repairing broken zippers much easier.
“We have been working hand-in-hand with YKK on commercializing some of their latest innovations to take our performance and technology to the next level for our consumers and for the planet,” added Bush. “I am very excited about the new repairable zipper technology. With this YKK breakthrough, we can focus on self-repair by the user in the field, instead of having to take their apparel out of service and ship it back and forth just to replace a broken slider. This marks a huge leap forward in reduction of the overall carbon-footprint of the product lifecycle and ensures our customers can become part of the solution. I look forward to the next generation of zipper innovations that YKK is developing, and I’m proud that ARTILECT is leading in bringing them to market.”
The Touchlink™ fastener has been nominated as a finalist in the Outdoor Retailer 2022 Innovation Awards and will be featured on ARTILECT products displayed at the Outdoor Retailer Snow Show January 26th through 28th in Denver, Colorado.