• Follow the boots: A case study of design and global value chains

Hodson, Elise ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8878-1355, 2023, Journal Article, Follow the boots: A case study of design and global value chains Journal of Design History. pp. 1-22. ISSN 0952-4649

Abstract or Description:

As manufacturing has become globally fragmented, so too has the work of design. Complex supply chains conceal sources of creativity and innovation, posing new challenges for researching design history. There is little understanding of how the globalisation of manufacturing in the late 20th and early 21st centuries has affected design practice or how design authorship might be identified in mass-produced objects. This case study follows a pair of steel-toed boots named Vanessa from concept through design, development and production, moving from Canada to Italy, Mexico and beyond. It maps components, equipment and expertise, making it possible to trace sources and relationships of design. Analysis reveals how the boots reflect shifts in global trade and the concentration of knowledge and resources in new locations. It also shows how the globalisation of production has influenced the role of the product designer who acts as intermediary within transnational networks, combining pre-designed components and practices from around the world. The manufacturer, Mellow Walk, has experienced the transition from a regional manufacturing economy to one that is globally integrated. The company was founded in the 1990s when most Canadian footwear factories had closed due to global competition. It is unique as the last fully integrated footwear factory in Ontario, meaning that management, design, production, sales and shipping happen under one roof. Mellow Walk nevertheless depends on international suppliers and in this sense, represents many other footwear brands around the world.

Official URL: https://academic.oup.com/jdh/advance-article/doi/1...
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W240 Industrial/Product Design
Creative Arts and Design > W900 Others in Creative Arts and Design > W990 Creative Arts and Design not elsewhere classified
School or Centre: School of Design
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/jdh/epad018
Uncontrolled Keywords: manufacture; industrial design; design profession; international trade networks; local national global mapping; global value chain
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2023 09:45
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2023 10:48
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/5319
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