Open Source Co-Production refers to a collaborative approach in which multiple stakeholders, including designers, manufacturers, and users, participate in the creation and production of fashion products through an open and transparent process. It involves sharing knowledge, resources, and ideas to collectively develop and bring a fashion product to fruition. This collaborative model allows for a greater diversity of ideas, skills, and perspectives to be incorporated into the design process. It fosters a sense of community and encourages active engagement from participants.

In Open Source Co-Production, the design process and related knowledge are openly shared and accessible to a wider community, enabling collaboration, innovation, and collective decision-making and, enabling anyone to access and contribute to the development of fashion products. In this context, “open source” refers to unrestricted access to design information, processes, and resources, allowing individuals and organizations to freely contribute, modify, and distribute the resulting products. The concept draws inspiration from the open-source software movement, where the source code of a program is made freely available for modification and redistribution.

Open Source Co-Production allows for the exchange of ideas, techniques, and expertise among individuals and organizations. It promotes inclusivity, sustainability, and creativity by breaking down traditional barriers and hierarchies within the industry. The goal is to leverage collective intelligence, creativity, and resources to develop innovative and sustainable fashion solutions.

Through Open Source Co-Production, designers can share their design files, patterns, and technical specifications openly, allowing others to modify and build upon their work. Manufacturers can contribute their expertise in production processes and techniques. Users can also engage by providing feedback, suggesting improvements, or even actively participating in the production process. This approach promotes co-creation and democratizes the fashion industry, blurring the lines between designers, manufacturers, and users.

By embracing Open Source Co-Production, the fashion industry can benefit in several ways. It facilitates knowledge sharing, enabling designers and manufacturers to learn from each other and improve their practices. It encourages innovation and experimentation, as different stakeholders can collaborate and iterate on designs more freely. It also promotes sustainability by reducing waste and encouraging the reuse and repurposing of materials. Open Source Co-Production can manifest in various forms, reflecting the diverse nature of the fashion industry and the collaborative possibilities it offers.

Open source design platforms

Online platforms or communities dedicated to sharing open-source fashion designs, patterns, and resources. These platforms allow designers to upload their designs for others to access, modify, and utilize for their own creations. Examples include Open Style Lab and Open Wear.

Collaborative workshops and hackathons

Events that bring together designers, makers, technologists, and fashion enthusiasts to collaborate on open-source fashion projects. Participants share their skills, knowledge, and resources to create innovative and sustainable fashion solutions. These workshops and hackathons often result in the co-creation of prototypes, designs, and ideas.

Maker spaces and fab labs

Physical spaces equipped with tools, machinery, and resources for individuals to collaborate and create fashion products. These spaces provide access to shared resources and foster a community-driven approach to fashion production. Participants can work together on open-source fashion projects, exchange ideas, and learn from each other’s expertise.

Open source material libraries

Platforms or databases that compile information about sustainable and open-source materials for fashion production. These resources enable designers and manufacturers to explore alternative materials, share knowledge about their properties and sourcing, and contribute to the development of sustainable fashion practices.

Fashion Hackathons and Challenges

Events or competitions focused on solving specific fashion-related problems through open-source co-production. Participants form teams and work collaboratively to develop innovative solutions, leveraging open-source principles. These initiatives encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration and foster a culture of sharing and collaboration within the fashion industry.

Collaborative design projects

Partnerships between fashion brands, designers, and consumers to co-design and co-produce fashion collections. This can involve engaging consumers in the design process, soliciting their ideas and feedback, and incorporating their input into the final products. The open-source approach allows for greater transparency and inclusivity in the design and production phases.

These examples illustrate how Open Source Co-Production can encompass a wide range of collaborative initiatives, all aimed at leveraging collective creativity, knowledge sharing, and sustainable practices. By embracing open-source principles, the fashion industry can tap into the power of collaboration and community to drive innovation, foster inclusivity, and promote sustainable fashion practices.

Case studies

Open Style Lab

Open Style Lab is an interdisciplinary organization that focuses on developing open-source fashion and assistive technology for people with disabilities. They collaborate with designers, engineers, and occupational therapists to create inclusive and accessible fashion solutions.

Fashion Revolution

Fashion Revolution is a global movement advocating for transparency, sustainability, and ethical practices in the fashion industry. They promote open-source principles through initiatives like the Fashion Revolution Open Studio, which encourages designers and makers to share their design process and resources openly.

Open Wear

Open Wear is an open-source fashion brand that allows users to customize and personalize their clothing designs. They provide patterns and instructions for various garments, enabling individuals to create their own unique pieces.

Fab Lab Barcelona

Fab Lab Barcelona is a fabrication laboratory that promotes open-source co-production in various fields, including fashion. They provide a collaborative space for designers and makers to experiment, share knowledge, and create innovative fashion projects.

Open Source Circular Economy Days (OSCEdays)

OSCEdays is a global event that brings together individuals and organizations interested in exploring open-source solutions for a circular economy. Within the fashion industry, participants collaborate on projects related to sustainable materials, circular design, and sharing economy models.

HackFashion

HackFashion is an annual event that combines fashion and technology, bringing together designers, technologists, and innovators to collaborate on open-source fashion projects. Participants work on prototypes, software, and hardware solutions that integrate technology into fashion.

References

Bujor, Adriana, Silvia Avasilcai, and Lidia Alexa. “Co-creation in fashion industry: The case of AWAYTOMARS.” Ann. Univ. Oradea 3 (2017): 22-25.

López-Navarro, Miguel A., and Cristina Lozano-Gómez. “Co-creation experiences as the basis for value creation in the sustainable fashion industry.” Customer Experience Management: Enhancing Experience and Value through Service Management, Kendall Hunt, Dubuque (2013): 133-152.

Chatterjee, Sheshadri, Nripendra P. Rana, and Yogesh K. Dwivedi. “Assessing consumers’ co‐production and future participation on value co‐creation and business benefit: an FPCB model perspective.” Information Systems Frontiers (2021): 1-20.

Pétursdóttir, Gunnhildur, and Liisi Lehtonen. “Value Co-creation in Slow Fashion: Exploring opportunities in new product development.” (2022).

Niessen, BERTRAM MARIA. “Open Source, p2p, social innovation and clothing.” (2010).