The Dale Sko Hack was a workshop and design project trying to develop new interfaces between designer and producer in an effort to evolve small scale production methods, save work places and develop skills within small scale shoe production.
The aim was to probe the possibilities of transversal collaborations between local production, design and appropriational myth-building in an ever increasing global fashion market. Not to impose organizational change, but to bend the inherent sources of the production facility to grow new action spaces. Hacking in this sense is the approach of reclaiming the modes of production, taking back initiative and control of an alienated production process and re-forming the factory operations as well as an already existing product. Hacking is bening the "software" operations, not the "hardware" machinery.
The hack as a design tool is a breaking up, reverse-engineering and tuning of fordist-style mass-production processes. This is an initiative of reforming production organization where designers and workers together modulate existing flows and models, misusing and adjusting machines to fit their new needs. In shoe production this would mean a design practice of altering models without changing the infrastructure, hardware and machinery of the factory. Instead the designers work with modding the production flow, distorting craft, and letting this practice leave a unique trace on every pair of shoes. Thus the shape of shoes is mutated throughout the production process by means of low-level molecular modulation and orchestration instead of top-down design engineering decisions.
The project is thus a whole re-reading of linear industrial production and a transgression of the industrial dichotomy between designer and producer. It is an approach of co-design and co-location of specific steps in the working process to explore how industrial production at this small scale can survive in the western post-welfare state of today.
the shoe crew:
The Dale Sko hack full crew
Point of departure for the project was using the existing “hardware” of the factory; lasts, machines and production equipment, but hacking the “software” of the production line - choice of designs, materials, processes and methods. Instead of keeping a linear and traditional industrial way of production the question was; how can we produce other flows, channels and interfaces between fashion and off-center, local production facilities?
The shoe hack was a three day workshop in april 2006 with six established Norwegian fashion designers coming to a small off-center facility, Dale Skofabrikk, exploring how new interfaces and modes of production might better use the knowledge at a traditional industrial setting such as the Dale shoe factory. The process was documented by a fashion photographer and some of the prototypes put into production.
The project won the special prize at the European Fashion Awards 2008 (SDBI)
reForm kit pre-production [pdf 1,5Mb]
project description/report (first version) [pdf 1Mb]
Dale Sko hack - final booklet [pdf 1,5Mb]
The project was made with the generous help from NKD - respect!