Post-Couture Collective

Fashion collective making garments that can be distributed digitally, cut locally, and assembled by hand without additional tools.

Photography: Lee Wei Swee for Post Couture

By designing clothes using an innovative connection technique optimised for specific materials that can also be cut with a laser, Post Couture enables clothes to be customised before purchase, fabricated locally, and assembled by the end-user.

Their aim is to change the fashion industry by allowing clothes to be made at scale, but without the compromises of the current mass production system, which demands that clothes be designed for mass markets far in advance, produced cheaply, and then discarded if they don’t sell.

How is it redistributive?

Mass market garments are manufactured in tightly integrated systems that incorporate materials, fabrication tools, and assembly techniques, as well as design, marketing and distribution.

To change one part of this system, for example, by trying to make garments that are more personalised to the wearer, means addressing all other parts of the system. For example, stitched seams work well as an assembly method within the current system, but are difficult to use in a distributed system without stitching tools being widely accessible.

In Post Couture garments, the fabric pieces are assembled by the end user with a connection technique that removes the need for stitching, and allows the clothes to be disassembled, and for pieces to be swapped out for modification or repair:

After cutting, the pieces can be assembled by you, without the need to use sewing machines or other equipment. By using an innovative construction in the seams of the garment it can be assembled following simple instructions. The designs offer the opportunity to assemble and reconfigure them again and again using new materials or colours.

This connection technique is optimised for particular fabrics, which in turn are well-suited to laser cutters, which are an accessible, well-distributed tool:

The minimalistic and slightly futuristic designs are cut from Spacer fabric; a 3D-knitted material that is soft to the touch, breathable and strong enough for the innovative construction method. The refined structure of the fabric flows beautifully around the body.

What are the barriers to mainstream success?
  • Can new connection methods and processes for self-assembly be developed that allow for a greater variety of material choice and different aesthetics? Can the technique be developed to allow for different kinds of functionality, for example, for waterproof clothing, or footwear?
  • Is there consumer demand for self-assembly clothing? Can we be persuaded to leave behind cheap, ‘disposable’ clothes to which we’re loosely attached, in favour of higher value, higher cost clothes which demand higher involvement?

Related projects

Open Desk

  • An assembly method optimised for a particular material: plywood
  • Online platform that allows digital files to be shared and downloaded as well as the finished, fabricated products

Objects to exhibit

A finished assembled garment on a dummy

Samples using the connector for people to play with (See assembly videos)
Video: end-to-end, showing the whole process:

Further reading

Post-Couture Collective website