The Repopulation is free from conventional MMO leveling and hews to skill-based progression instead, dealing with player gear is substantially more difficult than it would be otherwise. The team posted a five-minute dev video explaining how items, repair, and what it calls "fittings" work in the game.
The long and the short of The Repopulation's gear system is that players will be able to pick the outfit (or "shells") that they like the best visually and then equip the stats they want on it. This is done through fittings, which is similar to socket systems found in other MMOs.
As outfits take damage, the conditions of the fittings can and do degrade, reducing the stats associated with it. If it gets too bad, the fittings will either need to be repaired or replaced.
You can check out The Repopulation's gear system after the break. The team is currently accepting signups for June's alpha testing.
[Thanks to Halldorr and J.C. for the tip!]