Modularity noun /ˌmɑː.djəˈler.ə.t̬i/ — The quality of consisting of separate parts that, when combined, form a complete whole.

Each Library entry helps define and contextualize a term within the framework of an emergent fashion ecology. Here you will find simple illustrations, relevant research and links-out, as well as mentions of any people & platforms in our network who are substantiating the term.



Current—Garments ↔ PCs = a helpful analogy. Garments, despite their relative simplicity, are fixed and not modular; PCs on the other hand make initial setup, tweaks, future updates, and disassembly (for resale or repair) routine.

Why is this so?

The industries behind both engage in linear and destructive assembly, but they do not share product finish-lines. For example, at a department store which sells electronics and clothing, you’ll find fully assembled HP gaming rigs as well as PC graphics cards—but you won’t find sleeves next to a Zegna suit or collar options by a Carhartt jacket. It’s not even a question of b2b or b2c, because garment components only comprise base textiles and trims, at which point their assembly into full garments is pre-configured. While the architecture of a jacket is far simpler than that of a PC, altering a jacket (if even possible) is guaranteed to be a destructive process, requiring considerable experience and tools.

To reiterate, garment systems find interchangeability at the notation, fabric, and tool levels, but not at the design, manufacturing, hardware, decoration, distribution (and so on) levels. That is why Modularity currently only exists within small and closed systems, such as a single garment or accessory, a single collection, or a single brand. The industry has not developed any standards or technologies which would facilitate the interchangeability of decoration [art], utility/season, high friction areas [repair], or aesthetic form [silhouette].

Horizon—It would take material innovation, fundamental design reconsideration, and widespread brand collaboration to make modularity a prominent feature of our physical fashion landscape. However, with cultural bleed from adjacent spheres like Tech—where modularity in hardware (desktop PCs) and software (plug-ins) is all but a priori—expectations and habituations may amplify niche attempts at modularity into industry-wide standards over time. We already see this in digital fashion, where modular design (artwork, fabric, garment pattern) is the core mechanism engendering exchange within a fashion creator economy.

Modularity at scale would…
Cornerstones rest upon…
Possible routes follow…
Obstacles present as…
Parallel & divergent developments include…

We took a nod from science fiction in writing the above speculations, which range from plausible to otherworldly. After all, reality—in the span of a couple decades—can supersede even the most outlandish of fictions. We hope to celebrate the prescience of some of these ideas, too, in seeding a destination, and encouraging the roots.




Who Are We?
Jan 20, 2024 12:05 PM
What Are We Logging?
Jan 20, 2024 11:24 AM
A Note on Quests
Nov 29, 2023 1:00 PM
What Are Expressions?
Nov 29, 2023 10:06 AM
What Are Systems?
Nov 16, 2023 3:25 PM
Zero Waste
Jun 27, 2023 12:37 PM
Clothing is Metadata
Apr 15, 2022 2:49 PM
Dec 9, 2022 9:41 AM
Nov 16, 2023 3:28 PM

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