Artilect, the performance brand, has used YKK’s Touchlink Near Field Communication (NFC) enabled zipper in 17 styles for men and women in its FW22 apparel collection.

In using the Touchlink zippers, Artilect “aims to provide consumers with richer user experiences and enhanced product functionality.”

With a tap from a smartphone on the zipper, consumers can access product information, register their warranty, get care instructions, and access 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,” said Trent Bush, founder, 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.”

When worn, Touchlink zippers also offer customers the ability to check in with family or friends or dispatch first responders in an emergency. These opt-in safety features, powered by the Lifekey software platform, can be accessed with a tap of a smartphone to the zipper.

Artilect said that using the zippers achieves its circularity goals by making critical information about a worn garment available to customers with a smartphone 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,” said Terry Tsukumo, vice president, 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 pull, which encases it, making it 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,” explained Tsukumo.

Besides being the first U.S. brand to use the Touchlink zipper, it is also the first brand to use two new YKK products, a water repellent concealed zipper and a user-repairable detachable slider function for garment use in challenging conditions. The concealed, water-repellent zipper allows for protected ventilation, while the detachable slider function makes repairing broken zippers 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 the 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 zipper is nominated as a finalist in the Outdoor Retailer 2022 Innovation Awards and will be featured on Artilect products displayed at the OR Snow Show from January 26-28 in Denver, CO.

Photo courtesy Artilect