Activating Disruptive Fashion Modes and Practices

OPEN Fashion – Design to explore.

Open source implies the practice of openly sharing and providing access to the “product’s source materials” (van Abel, 2011). But what exactly does Open Fashion Design in practice mean? In fashion, open design is a major step towards transparency, a shared understanding and enabling the consumers to become makers of their own wardrobe.

In this blogpost we want to introduce some labels and initiatives which have been designing, exploring and embedding the idea of openly sharing and collaboratively making design. And invite you to start making and collaborating by introducing a number of inspiring concepts and sources to download patterns.

Starting with the eco-fashion label Pamoyo from Berlin, which is according to the Creative Commons office the first fashion brand licensed under creative commons. The label offers patterns from their collection free to download, improve and redesign (Lepisto, 2008). The founder of the label: Cecilia Palmer, is also one of our board members and is giving feedback in an interview on her 6 year experience working with open source fashion and participatory designing in the book: Agents of Alternatives. For Cecilia Palmer, the experience of exchange between designer and wearer – as both become part of the process and the garment, becomes most interesting.

Screen Shot 2014-04-10 at 21.47.01

(Image: Screenshot from

Second initiative we would like to introduce is OpenWear – collaborative clothing, initiated by Zoe Romano, another board-member at MODE UNCUT. OpenWear started as a research project and is grown to a platform, which provides a space to design and experiment. OpenWear offers a collaborative collection free to download on their website. The pieces are multifunctional an invite to experiment with and possibly upload and showcase on their gallery again.

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(Image: Screenshot from Buda Style)

Another long existing example is the German ’Burda Mode’ founded in 1949 by Aenne Burda. Burda Style nowadays, is a fashion magazine that includes actual sewing patterns and instructions. This offers fashion plus the freedom to choose colours and fit (bourdastyle, 2012). Burda also collaborates with known designers such as Karl Lagerfeld and offer the patterns for a small fee to download. The Internet plays an important role here, as it enables an easy exchange of knowledge, skills, experiences and files such as downloadable patterns.

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(Image: Screenshot from

Another example here is the young designer Rosie Martin who is experimenting with do-it-yourself collections to introduce the customer to the making process. Her label diy couture offers collections to be made DIY – ‘Do It Yourself’ where not even patterns are needed as the process are made easy to understand with geometrical shapes and using existing garments as template. This allows everyone – from beginner to experienced user – to design and make their own collection.

Screen Shot 2014-04-10 at 21.54.35

(Image: By Make{able})

As a last example I will introduce Make{able}, a project initiated by Anja-Lisa Hirscher, and also showcased here at MODE UNCUT. Make{able} offers workshops with ‘half-way’ garments and/or easy to copy patterns to apply to re-cycled fabrics from pre-consumer textile waste. The patterns used in the workshops are designed by different participating designers and are available online as download including diy-instructions. During the workshops participants are able to ask advice from experienced designers, and work with other makers, which encourages a joyful, shared making experience.

This is only a small number of existing initiatives experimenting with Open Fashion Design, we hope that with this platform we can enable new collaborations, connections to re-combine the relationships between stakeholders from fashion/textile/crafts and other sectors.


Burda Style:

diy couture:

Lepisto, L. (2008) First eco-fashion label under creative common licences, Treehugger:, 09.04.2014




van Abel, B., Klaassen, R., Evers, L. & Troxler, P. 2011, Open Design Now, retrieved at:, 12.01.2013


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This entry was posted on April 10, 2014 by .
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