RFID Technology Used in Apparel Industry

RFID Technology Used in Apparel Industry

Shweta B. Mokashi1
Naveen M. Gadkari2
Department of Textiles (Fashion Technology)12
DKTE’S Textile & Engineering Institute, Ichalkaranji, India12
Email: mokashishweta3@gmail.com1


Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) refers to a wireless technology comprised of two elements: tags and readers. The reader is a tool that has one or more antennas that release radio waves and receive signals back from the RFID tag. In the sector of textile and clothing, radio frequency identification (RFID) is one of the most important technological innovations, it is used in manufacturing, inventory control, warehousing, distribution, logistics, automatic object tracking and supply chain management.

For production monitoring in apparel manufacturing, production tracing system used in a apparel industry for real-time production checking. Production checking means more than only counting pieces at the output operation and operator head counting. RFID production tracing system is an old technology, still, it has the potential for garment factories for automizing production tracking and reporting.

Working of an RFID Systems:
The reader communicates with a tag, which holds digital information. A group of wired and wireless network represent the conversation infrastructure that carries out a series of information shift actions to convey the data preserve in a tag to the reader. Readers are same as the barcode sensors, which shows a radio signal by the antenna to the tag. The tag then answers to the radio wave, and the data can be browsed through the chip of the tag.

RFID Technology in apparel
Fig: Function of RFID Technology

Needs and Requirement of RFID Systems:
RFID technology is considered as key to getting 100% reliability uniting to the location of a delivered item at any given time, and the time at which it attained its destination. The information is precious to the logistics company and to garment manufacturing companies which depends heavily on logistics.

  1. Industries offering industrial washing services, such as those which washed uniforms and/or hospital garments and linens;
  2. Industries offering clothing scattering services;
  3. Wholesalers;
  4. Retailers.

Companies Provide RFID Technology to the Textile and Apparel Supply Chain Management:

  1. RFID Thread, manufactured by ADETEX.ID, looks and feels much like a common thread, but it holds digital details and can be scanned from a distance, using RFID technology. It lasts for the garment’s lifetime, reduces waste throughout the whole supply chain,
  2. CircularID, manufactured by Eon, is a platform which collates applicability garment-specific data including: materials, origin, price, style, and recycling commands. It was acquired to improve transparency and conversation throughout fashion supply chains.
  3. Avery Dennison gives RFID technology to digitize clothing and footwear items, and to link these with social network.

Benefits / Advantages of RFID Systems:

  1. Tracing assets and managing inventory.
  2. Saving time, money through automation.
  3. Enhancing data accuracy and availability.
  4. Improving health and safety.
  5. Better control of production.
  6. Enhanced quality, traceability.
  7. Increased revenues.
  8. More in-depth management details.
  9. There are more profits that the retail stores, as well as the consumers can enjoy. There are RFID-improved display trays, which can tell the consumers information about the appreciative items available with the selected merchandise. After the consumer buys the product and take out the price tag, the RFID is also removed.
  10. RFID also remarkably improves the time needs to take inventory. When the records are kept manually, it not only needs a lot of time, but the chances of mistake increase by manifolds. An employee can effortlessly take a complete inventory within minutes with the help of handheld RFID reader / a mobile RFID reader.
  11. RFID has resulted in an average 15-20% depletion in restocking efforts and 90% depletion in labor related with inventory counts.

Drawbacks / Disadvantages of RFID Systems:

1. High cost
Even though there is a huge potential of RFID in the local logistics department, the major disadvantage is the cost of the RFID tag is expensive as compared to barcode system.

2. RFID attacks
RFID tags can be disrupted by attackers or due to the improper handling of the goods.

3. Fake tags
The attackers may change the original tags with fake ones, which will prevent the data transfer or give fake details to the reader.

4. Security attacks
The attackers can smash the security algorithm used in the RFID technology or alter the message in the reader.

Components of RFID System:
An RFID system consist of three main components:

  1. RFID tags
  2. RFID reader
  3. RFID inventory management computer software.

a) RFID tags
Electronic tags are connected to units of stock. Each tag is digitally coded with details about the unit’s characteristics, such as its size, color, price, age and/or date, and origin of manufacture.

A RFID tag with chip and antenna
Fig: A RFID tag with chip and antenna

The tag helps to enhance the trackability of an individual unit, and is often contributed with the labelling solutions, in a hang tag / care label. Labels which include QR codes can be browsed by customers who wish to determine more about the supply chain that produced their stock.

Tags can also be connected to a batch of units. Such tags contain details about all the units in the batch, containing the total quantity of units contained within the batch.

These are described into two types of RFID tags:

  1. Active and
  2. Passive

Active RFID tags have a battery which provides the power for transmission. They convey out alerts which inform the reader of their locality and are therefore beneficial for tracking goods.

Passive RFID tags do not have a battery and therefore less expensive. Rather than, the RFID reader supplies them with the energy required to send and receive wave.

b) RFID Reader
The details in the tags are uplifted on an RFID reader via radio signals. The reader collects data from the tags by transferring and obtaining radio frequency waves to and from the electronic tags.

The data received on the RFID reader are then collected and conferred to the user via RFID inventory optimization in computer software.

These are described into two types of RFID readers:

  1. Portable and
  2. Non-portable.

Portable readers involved handheld devices, which are mainly utilized for counting purposes.

Non-portable readers comprise so-called walk-over gates which are implemented at the entrances and exits of the storehouse and which detect the units and store their data in the digital dataset as soon as the items pass through the gate. The walk-over gates act as security guards and instantly alert the storehouse staff if someone tries to filch a good from the storehouse.

c) RFID Inventory Optimization Computer Software:
The RFID inventory optimization computer software produce a central dataset of information, and enables users to refresh, update, read, analyze, and react to data which have been assembled.

Having an efficient inventory optimization system in locality can help a company to reduce costs and automate its inventory management procedures.

Application of RFID in Fashion and Apparel Industry:

1. Inventory management:
The Applications of RFID system helps in better inventory management. The RFID system can imply the type of clothing selling rapid or slower which provide custom made promotion on picked apparels according to the RFID tags. The RFID use also assist in diminishing labour.

2. Production control:
In production floor the storage level can be quickly monitored which assists in an actual time and effectual inventory management.

In the packing floor the merging of different styles and sizes can be evaded by RFID tags. Also, the number of goods in packed cartons can be sum up without opening, which redeem the time and labor.

3. Supply chain management:
In the textile and apparel supply chain, RFID assists companies to improve unit-level accuracy and enhance the efficiency of the global retail supply chain and the clearance of the textile supply chain. The visibility obtained by RFID results in a decrement in waste and therefore lower utilization of natural resources, and is therefore increasingly important as textile companies hire technology and incorporate changes to enhance their environmental and social responsibility over the supply chain.

4. Retail management:
It can be used in retail to monitor and control the floor level out-of-storage. The storage level of the goods is properly carried on and the goods can be grouped according to their requirement.

5. RFID used in fitting room:
Radio frequency identification technology is applied in the fitting room. Automatic implies are provided to men buying apparels in the store when they go to a dressing room to try a suit.

An RFID reader on the smart mirror in the fitting room identifies which clothing has been brought into the room from the RFID tag joined to the apparel. The suitable accessories are then displayed on a suitable interface.

6. RFID tags for care labelling:
The electronic labels use RFID tags for holding information electronically on an apparel. The same RFID tag used for holding the product information at the point of sale cannot be applied for storing the wash care commands, due to the privacy solicitude.

Top Five Fashion Companies Utilizes RFID Technology:

1. Amazon
Amazon’s Research and Development teams working on RFID. They are establishing Radio frequency identification technology to provide a phenomenal consumer experience. you have to do is enter the amazon stock via an RFID Amazon app, take the good and walk out. Absolutely why the tagline of Amazon Go is “Just Walk Out”. Therefore, it denotes you do not have to wait in a row and waste time.

Zara is a fast fashion retailer brand. They are used for inventory tracing. Also, tracing the counterfeit problem was one of the largest problems in the apparel industry. Zara is using this technology auspiciously in its hundreds of stores.

3. H&M
H&M is enhancing its offer to attract consumers, which should lead to increment in sales and revenues. RFID can assist in providing crucial data and that data can assist in increasing sales and engaging consumers better.

4. Decathlon
Decathlon’s main purpose was to make sure that the good is available in the store if the consumer is willing to buy. Decathlon did not want to disappoint any consumer. Decathlon integrated Radio frequency identification technology solutions in its supply chain to never disappoint their consumer.

5. BJC HealthCare
Radio frequency identification technology helps in Health Care is that the manual rearranging process of medicine can lead to excessive stocks. With an RFID system in place, the firm believed it could gain an actual time view of each medicine and its place, expiry date, etc. It automatically orders medicine when a medicine stock is less.

It is clear that RFID technology has a very great future in the textile and apparel industry. An increasing number of well-known consumers with a social conscience required RFID to keep them informed about the impact of their apparel on the people and planet around them, and to allow them to make informed decisions concerning the garment’s care throughout its lifetime, and its appropriate stuff at the obsolescence.


  1. https://textilelearner.net/rfid-technology-in-fashion-and-textile/
  2. https://www.textileblog.com/application-areas-of-radio-frequency-identification-rfid/
  3. https://fashionandtextiles.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s40691-015-0034-9
  4. https://www.onlineclothingstudy.com/2019/11/rfid-system-for-production-tracking-in.html
  5. https://www.aatcc.org/the-role-of-rfid-in-a-more-transparent-textile-and-apparel-supply-chain/
  6. https://www.fibre2fashion.com/industry-article/7029/apparel-retail
  7. https://www.assetinfinity.com/blog/big-brands-uses-rfid-technology

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