Design for disassembly is an approach that involves intentionally designing products in a way that allows for easy and efficient disassembly at the end of their life cycle. It focuses on creating products that can be easily taken apart, separating different components and materials for reuse, recycling, or other forms of responsible disposal.

This design principle aligns with the 6Rs of sustainability, particularly the concepts of reuse, repair, and recycle. Design for disassembly means creating garments and accessories with components that can be easily separated and disassembled. This includes using fasteners, connectors, or other mechanisms that enable the straightforward removal of individual parts, such as buttons, zippers, linings, and trims. By considering the disassembly process during the design phase, fashion products can be more easily repaired, altered, or repurposed.

The aim of design for disassembly is to extend the lifespan of fashion items and reduce waste. By enabling disassembly, it becomes easier to repair damaged parts, replace worn-out components, or transform the garment into a new style. This approach promotes circularity by facilitating the reuse of materials and reducing the need for new resource extraction.

Designing for disassembly also supports the recycling process. By separating different materials, such as fabrics, buttons, and zippers, at the end of a garment’s life, these components can be recycled more effectively. Designers can consider using recyclable materials and avoiding complex material blends that are challenging to separate. This enables the recycling of fashion products into new textiles or other usable materials, contributing to a more sustainable and closed-loop system.

Furthermore, incorporating design for disassembly in fashion can encourage a shift towards a more sustainable and responsible consumption mindset. When users are aware that their garments are designed for disassembly, they are more likely to engage in repair, alteration, or recycling initiatives. This promotes a culture of conscious consumption and encourages individuals to participate actively in the circular economy.

In summary, design for disassembly in the fashion domain involves intentionally designing products with the ability to be easily disassembled at the end of their life cycle. It promotes the principles of reuse, repair, and recycle, as part of the 6Rs of sustainability. By considering disassembly in the design process, fashion products can be more easily repaired, components can be reused or recycled, and the overall environmental impact of the fashion industry can be minimized.

Case studies

The R Collective

The R Collective is a Hong Kong-based fashion brand that focuses on upcycling and zero-waste design. They collaborate with luxury brands to repurpose excess materials and create new collections. Their design approach involves disassembling and reconstructing the materials to create unique and sustainable fashion pieces.

Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney is a luxury fashion brand known for its dedication to sustainability. They prioritize designing products that are easy to disassemble, repair, and recycle. Stella McCartney has also collaborated with Parley for the Oceans to create swimwear made from recycled ocean plastic, further showcasing their commitment to circularity.

G-Star RAW

G-Star RAW, a denim brand, has a sustainable collection called “Raw for the Oceans.” This collection uses recycled ocean plastic to create denim products. G-Star RAW incorporates design for disassembly principles by ensuring that the garments can be easily separated into their component parts for recycling and repurposing.


Outerknown is a sustainable clothing brand founded by professional surfer Kelly Slater. They focus on using organic and recycled materials in their products. Outerknown offers a “Lifetime Guarantee” on their garments and provides repair services to extend the life of their products.