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FASHION-able. Hacktivism and engaged fashion design


Otto von Busch


FASHION-able. Hacktivism and engaged fashion design

Dissertation in Design, 2008.



This thesis consists of a series of extensive projects which aim to explore a new de- signer role for fashion. It is a role that experiments with how fashion can be reverse engineered, hacked, tuned and shared among many participants as a form of social activism. This social design practice can be called the hacktivism of fashion. It is an engaged and collective process of enablement, creative resistance and DIY practice, where a community share methods and experiences on how to expand action spaces and develop new forms of craftsmanship. In this practice, the designer engages par- ticipants to reform fashion from a phenomenon of dictations and anxiety to a collec- tive experience of empowerment, in other words, to make them become fashion-able.

As its point of departure, the research takes the practice of hands-on exploration in the DIY upcycling of clothes through “open source” fashion “cookbooks”. By means of hands-on processes, the projects endeavour to create a complementary understanding of the modes of production within the field of fashion design. The artistic research projects have ranged from DIY-kits released at an international fashion week, fashion experiments in galleries, collaborative “hacking” at a shoe factory, engaged design at a rehabilitation centre as well as combined efforts with established fashion brands.

Using parallels from hacking, heresy, fan fiction, small change and professional-ama- teurs, the thesis builds a non-linear framework by which the reader can draw diagonal interpretations through the artistic research projects presented. By means of this alter- native reading new understandings may emerge that can expand the action spaces available for fashion design. This approach is not about subverting fashion as much as hacking and tuning it, and making its sub-routines run in new ways, or in other words, bending the current while still keeping the power on.

This is thesis no 7 in inte ArtMonitor dissertation series. 

ISBN: 978-91-977757-2-4


This dissertation is published in English.

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The dissertation is e-published

The dissertation is e-published in GUPEA (Göteborgs universitets publikationer - Elektroniskt Arkiv). Download the dissertation 

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