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Fashion Service Systems

1-3 hours
1-2 days

Individual / Group / Discussion

Comprehend / Conceptualise


The designer can take part in the development of a new fashion system, by not only creating a traditional collection of garments, but also by becoming system thinkers and by designing strategically around garments. This can for example be in the form of fashion services that allow for leasing, up-cycling, and re-selling.

Services like these may require certain conditions that influences the business model, such as company size and market segment. Furthermore, the design of a collection within a service may also influence the design framework including limitations and possibilities. Fashion services ask us to discover and consider the system behind.

How can we design garments for services?

Links to Pillar(s)

Cultural - Economic - Environmental - Social



Ask students to watch the short movie for ‘TED’s Ten: 9 – Design to Dematerialise and Develop Systems & Services’ as preparation for the activity or show in class before starting the activity. The movie provides a common understanding of what systems thinking and fashion services can be. If you want to provide further information to students before the activity, Global Fashion Agenda’s ‘Garment Collection Toolbox’ provides examples of various takeback systems, and relevant issues connected to these. Furthermore, it describes four systems based on existing companies 


Discuss the relevance of different takeback systems. Think in physical and digital platforms of for example rental, borrow, trade etc. 

  • Which systems could work for collective fashion? 

STEP 2: GROUPS (2-3 students) 

Ask students to outline a system from elements relevant in a fashion service. Make a poster that illustrates the system with important elements. The visualisation of a current and future ‘Wardrobe Metabolism’ (Fletcher and Grose, 2012, pp. 89) can be used as an example of how to illustrate a system. 

  • What could the service system look like?

  • What would the system require?

  • What is required of the design of garments for the system to work? 


Ask a couple of groups to present their service systems based on the above questions.

  • Students can be asked to share their poster with proposed service systems

This Activity Links To
  • The creation of posters outlining fashion service systems.

Suggested Readings

Global Fashion Agenda. “Garment Collection” Toolbox.

Petersen, T. B., & Riisberg, V. 2017. “Cultivating User-ship? Developing a Circular System for the Acquisition and Use of Baby Clothing”. Fashion Practice 9 (2), pp. 214–34.

Fletcher, K. & Grose, L. 2012. Chapter 7: Optimized lifetimes in: Fashion & Sustainability: Design for Change. London: Laurence King, pp. 85-91.

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