Don’t Run – Beta: A High-Street Shoe Factory
Don’t Run – Beta is a collaborative high-street shoe factory that explores the possibilities of a transparent production process for making and designing footwear. Created by Italian designer Eugenia Morpurgo and British-Spanish designer Juan Monteno, the project provides an alternative to mass production by giving consumers the control to design, assemble and repair their shoes.
A laser cutter is used to cut the rubber soles and leather uppers for the footwear, which are then constructed into finished shoes using 3D-printed components. Digital technologies such as these allow for individual customisation and make small-scale manufacturing more affordable by replacing the need for a variety of expensive moulds with digital libraries of designs.
The shoes are constructed without the use of glue or stitching – allowing for ease of assembly, as well as complete disassembly at the end of use. Designing for disassembly means each component can be recycled appropriately, as described in Closing the Loop: Future-Proofing Design.
Like Morpurgo and Monteno, many designers are readdressing conventional manufacturing methods and choosing to open up the design process to consumers for a more collaborative approach – see our Design Direction Intervene and our Industry Trend Outsider for more inspiration.
This ideology also taps into a growing concern among consumers as to where, how, and by whom our products are made. For more insight into this issue, see 2014: Ethical Fashion’s Year.