India matters: leather from production to co-design

Friedemann Schaber, K Sugiyama (Editor), A Kobayashi (Editor), M Takatera (Editor), J Zhang (Editor), M Shiraishi (Editor), N Kobayashi (Editor)

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapterpeer-review


This investigation of communities working with leather in India is based on case study research consisting of tanners, artisans and entrepreneurs. Beyond the stereotype of a polluting industry where child labour is considered to be rampant, we find approaches to ecologically and socially responsive design. This is informed by a recent survey of the leather trade in India and current interactions with the subcontinent, including a live client project with a partner institution in the United Kingdom. Focusing on a particular material and trade, the research aims to shed light on the contribution of design networks in the transformation of the Indian and British shoe and leather industries, by means of mapping the interactions. We find that designers work with artisan collectives in an effort to remake traditional objects such as footwear and fashion accessories, and, in doing so, stimulating local economies. These makers display entrepreneurial behaviour and are incorporating innovation, collaboration and networking. The paper concludes with a discourse around socially responsive practices that will impact on the production, reception and consumption of design.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConsilience and Innovation in Design
Place of PublicationTokyo
PublisherInternational Association of Societies of Design Research
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9784998077633
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2013


  • India
  • co-design
  • footwear
  • leather
  • socially responsible design


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