Candy, Fiona Jane, Goodacre, Lynne and Cassim, Julia
Experimental Design Concepts for footwear.
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An intensive two day workshop convened three teams each made up of leading footwear designers, NHS foot clinicians and a design partner - a woman living with RA - in order to brainstorm breakthrough concepts for footwear. Their brief was to design an innovative ‘social occasion’ shoe for women that could accommodate foot damage associated with RA, be perceived as attractive and fashionable by wearers, and be suitable for mass production. The workshop aimed to raise awareness of key issues among shoe designers, manufacturers and clinical practitioners, to enable the design and provision of footwear for mobility, comfort and style, in both prescription and mainstream contexts.
The challenge of the brief created a unique focus for the exchange of expertise between medicine and fashion, including the everyday experiences of marginalised shoe wearers. A large volume of experimental design material was created, along with digital documentation of final outcomes produced by each team. Several original shoe concepts were developed, which integrated e.g: modular forms and components, additional capacity for orthotics and shock absorption, experimental use of materials and construction for ease of putting on and removing, fastening mechanisms, heel adaptations, decorative and visual styling concepts.