I've gotten a couple of orange armor pieces and weapons, and it seems like the only thing that varies between them is the look and the upgrades they happen to come with. Are they all really the same, or are higher level ones better somehow?
All orange items, stripped of mods, lack stats of any kind. This gives players the option to keep a piece they really like the look of, and simply upgrade the mods, armor, and enhancements, to keep pace with those who swap out pants like hotcakes.
Even for weapons, base damage is based on the hilt / barrel involved, and is thus fully scalable.