This is a pretty big idea I have here, both in terms of depth, and I think challenge. Basically, this mod would add 48 different armor sets into MC. I know this is 192 different items, so I'm not sure if this is do-able with the way Minecraft handles item values, but oh well, I'ma post it here anyway.
To start off, you need to make colored armor. You can make this armor from wool - just form wool of the same color into the different recipes for armor to make that color of armor. You can dye the armor after the fact with dyes, just as you would with wool. You can do this either in the crafting grid, or by making a mannequin and putting the armor on there, then right-clicking the armor with a dye to change it. Oh, and if it's possible, you might be able to repair different color armors together with a dye in the crafting grid to make a repaired armor of that color dye.
The mannequin basically looks like Steve made of wood, with his arms spread like he's a scarecrow. Setting the mannequin down lets you right-click with, say, a helmet, and make the mannequin wear that piece of armor. This would work for any type of armor in the game, from vanilla MC, from this mod, or from other mods. The usefulness of this will become more apparent later.
All of these wool armors have the same durability and offer the same protection as leather armor. So why have 16 equally shoddy armor sets, you ask? Because you can use a special block (called the ArmorCraft-Mannequin Enchanter, or ACME, until I can come up with a better name) to embed the armor with enderpearls.
The dead bush is a placeholder for a mannequin. This machine basically acts like a special furnace that smelts your colored armor into enchanted pieces, at the cost of one enderpearl and 6 real-time minutes. This creates a single piece of jewel-encrusted armor. These armors all have different effects, detailed in the link. All these armors have the same defense and durability of iron, and each piece has at least one enderpearl in its design.
If you were instead to stuff your ACME with a wool armor and an eye of ender, or an ender armor and a blaze powder, you will get a piece of corrupted armor. Like the ender armors, each of the 32-some pieces of these have an eye of ender somewhere on their texture. These armors usually have negative or completely opposite effects from their normal counterparts. As a general rule, you won't want to wear these pieces all the time, but when you do want them, they are incredibly useful. For example, a single piece of the Gills/Zora armor prevents you from breathing above water, but a full set lets you swim through the oceans like a fish; these armors and their effects are listed in the right three columns.
Any of these armors can be put onto a mannequin so that you can take advantage of their positive effects without having to wear them all the time. A good example of this is the nurse armor - put up a mannequin with this on in your bedroom or foyer to replenish your health when you walk by it. You can activate or deactivate their effects with a redstone signal when they're on a mannequin - so if you don't want the Black Hole armor to suck in dropped items, you can put a redstone torch next to it to make it stop.
Some armors have special abilities when you combine all four of their pieces, like the Zora armor above. There exists a white armor that can act as a piece of armor from any set; however, wearing a white armor piece does not activate these full armor effects. As a general rule, if the googledoc says "if you're wearing four pieces, than this effect happens" or something similar, it will work if one of these pieces is a bonus armor piece. If it specifically says "a full set", then a white piece will not work in that case.
Also, to allow you to quickly switch armor sets on the go, you can craft a quick-switch cloak out of an enderpearl, two sticks, and four wool of any color. Right-clicking with it will bring up a GUI that lets you give each piece of armor in your inventory a color. When you left-click with the quick-switch cloak, the image of the cloak will switch colors, and it will instantly replace the armor you're wearing with the armor set you've tagged with that color. You can tag a piece of armor with multiple color tags, if you want it to be a part of multiple color sets.
Also, when certain armors are on a mannequin (such as the magma or arrow armors), they can fire a projectile when the mannequin gets a redstone signal, based on where the redstone comes from. IE, if a redstone signal comes from the north side of a mannequin, the armor will fire at the closest target that is north of it.
Armorcraft armor types
This is the link to all of the different armor types, what they do, and what they would look like. Please comment below, even if you can't code or do textures - the more press, the better.
I have a small thought, if this is to be a mod, use Forge. Don't do what Flowerchild has done & tie your users to your mod or their modpack, if it comes down to it. Compatibility aside, Forge let's you add all* the items & blocks you want.
(*Within reason, say up to 300-500 blocks. Max is 4095 minus all the vanilla block, and 32,600-ish total items & blocks. So effectively infinite for a single mod's purposes.)