PSS: Product Service System

After doing a little research on what a PSS actually is, I believe that a PSS replaces (or couples) a product with a service.  A PSS allows customers the chance to forego paying for the product itself (and whatever maintenance and upkeep it requires), and instead pay to use the product for a bit, and then return it.

From the reading, it was clear to see that product service systems could be the key to a more sustainable world.  According to the article “Sustainable Product Service Systems: The New Frontier in Apparel Retailing”, I particularly took note of the following quote from page two:

“Services have been identified as a way to better meet fundamental human needs, like the need for social interaction, personal expression, and to create or innovate”

Maybe this is what our society is missing… Is it possible that designers could make humans more humble, honest, and all around better world citizens by simply creating more product service systems?

This article sent me on a mission.  The mission: to find a real-life example of a PSS that is succeeding so that I could better propose an idea of my own.  I came across a company called Mio.  Mio is a furniture/wall covering/décor/etc. company that is passionate about “green design”.  For Mio, it is important that all of their designs maximize environmental, social, and economic returns.  Some of the items available on the Mio website include 3-D paper wall coverings, custom cabinets, custom art, and many other products that would be of interest to any interior fanatic.  However, another item sold via the Mio website that truly represents PSS is known as “Loop by the Yard”.  Loop By the Yard is a reversible, textile-like material that can be used for various do-it-yourself projects.  Each order of this “Loop textile” comes with it’s own envelope so you can simply and easily mail it back to Mio for replacement if it gets torn or wears thin.  Loop By the Yard can be reversed, cut, sewn, wrinkled, folded, hung or hemmed like a textile. It is flexible, breathable and waterproof, which makes it the perfect product for many indoor and outdoor projects.  The textile costs $13 per yard and is available in three different patterns. 





This sparked my own brain to begin working on a PSS idea.  First of all, I believe that in order for product service systems to succeed, it must be low maintenance for the customer. My proposal is as follows:


I believe that offering customers the chance to return an apparel item after it has been ripped or worn-out is a great solution to the never-ending shopping cycle.  The apparel items could be–

A.) Made out of a sustainable textile.

B.) Created to last.

C.) Not too bright or trendy in order to increase the time the customer feels that it is appropriate to wear the garment. 

If the apparel items that were sold were budget friendly, comfortable, and always able to be returned, I think that a successful PSS could be created. 


I am hopeful that over time humans will crave the basic needs that were discussed in the assigned reading and then will really understand the need for product service systems in our world. 


About B

I am a Junior at Oklahoma State University. I am majoring in Apparel Merchandising. I enjoy being outdoors, spending time with my family, and trying new things!
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2 Responses to LOOP

  1. turtleshell says:

    I completely agree with you on the idea that we should become a world that craves the basics. Also I really like your idea of the LOOP apparel, we all have clothes that are ripped or worn-out that we are attached to and it would be so nice sometimes to be able to return these products for something new or even something very similar. Your three key elements for the apparel products are great! I especially appreciate the idea of items that are created to last because I feel like that most products today are just made to be used a couple times. I can’t keep count of how many times I have bought something and after wearing it 3 or 4 times it has either shrunk, lost its color or shape, or even been made of such a low quality material that it just doesn’t last.

  2. Dr. Cosette Armstrong says:

    I cannot remember is we have read about this yet or not, but there is also the concept of somehow documenting or emphasizing the flaw that has occurred and embedding the story of the garment’s failure into the design. For example, embroidering the date the hole appeared or further embellishing a stain that happened.

    I am delighted that you sought out more ideas to extend your learning. I think some students are waiting for those things to come to them, but it is difficult to capture in a few hours a week in class all that is happening in the world related to sustainable design. There is so much going on! You highlight a very important point in this conversation: “Is it possible that designers could make humans more humble, honest, and all around better world citizens by simply creating more product service systems?” I think this is what the sustainable design conversation is really all about — how can we, as designers and merchandisers, create a different type of consumption? One that is more thoughtful and conscientious … Great job this week!

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