DNA tags may be an effective tool to authenticate denim. The tag maintains its integrity even after the rigors of bleaching and abrasion, according to a new study by Applied DNA Sciences and the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). DNA tags may soon undergo testing at a full manufacturing facility to verify the authenticity of a finished denim garment.

The study has been published in the AATCC Review, a publication of the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colours.

At the FIT labs in New York, denim swatches were treated with unique DNA molecular tags produced by Applied DNA, then subjected to stone and bleach washings. The samples were then analysed at Applied DNA’s laboratories in Stony Brook, where it was proven that the DNA tags remained intact and suitable for high quality forensic scale analysis. Based on the observed stability, DNA tags of this kind may soon be ready for testing at a full manufacturing facility to verify the authenticity of the finished denim garment.

“This technology will enable brands and manufacturers to track their fibres from the farm through to the finished product, allowing for a more transparent supply chain. Traceability can also help verify certain sustainability claims about commodities and products, helping ensure good practices and respect for people and the environment in supply chains,” Sean Cormier, FIT assistant professor, Textile Development and Manufacturing, said.