Something we can both agree on Qewy, the economy as I have recently been referring to it as, is 'fucky.'
Your assessment that the economy is too reliant on fixers is a good one. And you're right in the fact that anyone who's put into a serious combat position, either by choice or by decision, gets to pretty much live in their armor. It's not great, and I remember it being something that used to bother me quite a bit when I was newer at the game, come to think of it.
The thing about custom, flash looking stuff is that every precedent in the game is set up such that if you want anything custom, flashy, style over substance or however else you want to put it, you are forced to farm insane amounts of chyen in order to acquire. Back before vehicle combat, take a look at cars. You had a bunch of coupe/sedans that could seat more or less 5 people. Some were cheap, some were comically expensive. The difference was entirely in the flex of being able to say 'yeah, I pissed away a whole lot of money for this, look at how big my e-ego is.'
The entire game is hand-catered to tailors as it is, unfortunately. We have a handful of shop clothing in each sector, all of which is ugly as hell and sucks, specifically so we're forced to dump money on people with a single skill. In the case of intense specialization, like an AV mechanic or a cybersurgeon, I think this kind of bottlenecking is ok, however, it's also the case with fashion.
Have you ever put in builder requests for redecoration or god forbid actual rennovations of a place? I have, and I can tell you that sometimes you're looking at upto well into the six figure range to get it done.
For this matter, why does tailored clothing even take damage in the first place? Repairs trash the value of the clothing, so why not have it simply disintegrate or go up in a huge conflagration when you get near a open flame? Do players not naturally die, lose, or grow tired of old clothing, just to drive more into the game system naturally? Of course.
The point that I'm trying to get at isn't one that I'm really proud to be making or something I'm going to shake my pom-poms about. Sindome isn't really a cyberpunk game. It is a game that wastes enormous amounts of player's time and energy grinding money that tends to last exceedingly short amounts of time. It wants you to then waste precious little spare money you get to look cool or fashionable. It's not themely to the cyberpunk genre at all when it comes to it's artistic and expressive design. It is a game that heavily favors people smashing skulls in over having arguments or debates over things, putting on fashion shows or music concerts. That said, for me personally, of all the non-combat related stuff in the game, this is probably just about in the dead last position for things to fix, or add upon.
I want more armors. I want more styles. I want not having to go to the same handful of people to spend every chyen my character earns on rebuying the exact same shit every single time I die. But artistry does not need to be the skill doing this, and there's a staggering amount of things that I'd prioritize over tailoring armor, or armorsmithing, whatever you'd like to call it. I mean, we still have archetypes that are staples of the genre that fundamentally don't work in SD because of a lack of coded support, dev time and ability. I'd do a backflip to see forensics or decking or some of the other less represented or outright meme-worthy skills to get some attention.