We are proud to present the makers of MadLab – Fashion Hackers and HACMan. These groups show that MadLab is not only about the virtual, but attracts groups who want to make something with their hands. Different but similar, these groups gather those interested in inventing, designing and making things, hands-on projects joining fun and need. The benefits of coming together in a shared space are are not hard to point out – starting from sharing equipment ending with the idea that doing things together may lead to bigger-greater ideas than tinkering alone.
Conceived in November 2010, Fashion Hackers brings together a group of people interested in fashion, but also giving back to society. It is a charitable meet-up started by volunteers at Oxfam Charity shop, whose aim is fighting poverty and hunger. The basic idea of the group is to up-cycle clothes that have been donated to Oxfam, but cant be sold in the shop. They are cut apart, redesigned and sewn back together, so that they can be sold back to the store for profit. Once a month the fashion hackers come to MadLab with boxes of fabric, clothes with defects, pattern kits, and equipment for sewing. Everyone interested in creating something new and beautiful is welcome to join. This September (2011) the Fashion Hackers are planning a fashion show – to get some new faces and new energy and show what has been done during the productive first year.
So far from fashion seems the geeky invention-design group HACMan – but creating and showing off the results is the common ground. HacMan is one of the most frequent user groups at MadLab – they use the space weekly (Wednesday evening) and a full day once a month every third Saturday, keeping the ground floor buzzing. It is a community driven collaborative group for people interested in electronics, robotics, programming, technology and digital art. In addition to weekly meetings HacMan runs frequent HACDays – all day long workshops centred around a theme and goes to show their makings on different events. They are also most written about, most filmed, and interviewed of all the MadLab groups. Sometimes the attention on them seems to be overwhelming for the organizers, but in a way the identity of HacMan and MadLab have grown strong links – it is about being creative, inventive and using technology to realize ideas. MadLab collaborates with HacMan in delivering several projects for Contact Theatre, The Manchester Science Festival and FutureEverything. On top of this, HACMan helps MadLab with maintenance and building up the ground floor.
HACMan frequently updates their website.
Both groups are characterized by the ‘open to all’ attitude. They might seem intimidating to newcomers with their elaborate projects, but the philosophy behind both maker groups is doing things together and learning. What the space provides is technology, more than most would have at home, and sharing expertise. Getting started with a project with 12 minds instead of one may take the idea many phases further.