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Corn Dolly | Darja Malesic

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Detailed Description

The Corn Dolly project proposes a modular footwear series that aims to promote biodiversity and handicrafts, with a mission to support the ”Right to (Self-)Repair” concept. Corn Dolly Shoes fuses traditional wicker craft with a modern circular design to create a brand-new concept in contemporary footwear.

Project Details

Does your design take social and cultural challenges and human wellbeing into consideration?

Means enabling citizens to become active participants in the design process through meaningful and participatory co-design approaches.

The ability to (self-)repair the product in a way where the modular design of the product allows each individual element to be restored, replaced or recycled as needed. The hand-woven wicker part is fixed with the Vibram sole only with a string (no glue needed). So any part can be easily replaced with a new one by the user.

Does your design support sustainable production, embodying circular or regenerative design practices?

Making and design principles aspire to renew and restore the systems that we are part of, rather than just replacing or devaluing them.
The concept of Corn Dolly modular footwear is based on circular principles.

The use of corn husk wicker is a simple example of a circular economy, where waste (corn husk is a by-product of the agricultural industry) is the basic raw material for a product that can be composted when its life cycle is completed.

Corn Dolly footwear uses a Vibram® rubber sole, which is an established synonym for quality and durability for many mountaineers and explorers from the Alps to the Himalayas. It is a high-quality rubber sole that is made from 90% natural ingredients and uses 100% natural pigments. This sole can be recycled within Vibram’s industrial process.

The right to repair footwear - the possibility of repairing the product in a way where the modular design of the product allows each element to be individually restored, replaced, or recycled if necessary.

Does your design use principles of distribution and open source?

Refers to the mentality and approach of designers to share and make their design processes transparent, replicable, and accessible, from hardware and software to implementation and usability.

The design process is transparent from the point where the upper parts of the shoes are ready to be fixed with Vibram sole. Corn Dolly Shoes are designed to be repaired. It makes fixes that are user-friendly, with affordable replacement parts.

Does your design promote awareness of responsible design and consumption?

Means acknowledging the complexity of interactions between cultural, natural, and social aspects and designing to improve the health of social and environmental systems.

The project also supports biodiversity by using corn leaves from an indigenous Slovenian (non-GM) maize, called ”Trdinka”. On a global scale, we have already lost as much as 75 percent of traditional plants, and when it comes to preserving those that are left, every step counts in protecting our natural heritage, biodiversity and the resulting food security.

This concept challenges the throw-away culture of mass-produced footwear. Corn Dolly Shoes are designed to be repaired. It makes fixes that are user-friendly, with affordable replacement parts.

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