We all want to think that we've got some form of "Do It Yourself" capability. We pride ourselves in knowing that, unlike everybody else, we don't have to pay somebody to do something that we can do ourselves. For some it takes the form of a pride/accomplishment thing: fixing a broken toaster, putting together an obscenely huge piece of Ikea furniture, or setting up our own wireless connection. For others, it may simply be a way to cut on costs - like making a truckload of pizza dough from scratch and freezing it for the month. One of the biggest Do It Yourself (or DIY) movements in the last five years, however, has been DIY fashion.
There are hundreds of DIY blogs, YouTube videos, morning shows -- you name it -- dedicated to teaching fashion/beauty-oriented learners how to take popular looks and styles and make them original. The complication that arises here, is that in order to DIY, you've gotta be a little crafty. Well, you ask, what happens if you've got a artistic mind and a unique vision, but not a creative bone in your body?
Enter the wave of T-DIY, or "They Do It Yourself" (both terms that I just made up right now). Smart companies, big and small, are coming out and talking directly to the people, saying "Hey folks, we know you're looking for something unique, and though you may not know how to do it yourself, you have a vision -- and we are here to help you create it."
Interest piqued? Below are a few companies who are taking T-DIY to the next level.
APLIIQ: A new media fashion company founded and run by Ethan Lipsitz. "Apliiq is a collection of rare, vintage and recognizable textiles that are applied to simple, everyday garments," says Lipsitz. "It's not over the top, it's not trendy or seasonal, there's a built in experience and story behind each piece." Customizing is easy and actually makes you feel like a designer. First you choose what kind of garment you want to customize (hoodies, sweatshirts, t-shirts, tanks, dresses, etc.), then you choose the color of the garment, the fabric of the patches/pockets, even the color of the drawstrings - et voila! Here's a screenshot of what the customization process looks like:
Each product is made to order and ships quickly because it's all made in LA where the company is based. To check it out for yourself go to Apliiq's website. Aaaaand since I love you guys so much and your girl Mihal always has the hookup for you, enter promo code huffington at checkout and receive 15% off your purchase.
SNEAKERS: NikeiD, Reebok, Vans, Converse ... these shoe companies get lumped together because they're basically all doing the same thing: allowing you to choose the style and color scheme of your sneakers. It's brilliant when you think about it -- there are so many shoes out there, and so many people running around with the same ones (pun intended!). With this T-DIY you can still be up on the sneaker trends, but your pair can have a little flair that the others don't. Plus Nike and Reebok are a very different aesthetic than Vans and Converse -- so they've got the market covered in terms of personal style. Not too shabby, not too shabby.
SLV JEWELRY: One of a kind, hand-made jewelry by NYC designer Sadye L. Vassil. Made from quality metal, each unique piece is hand-cut, hammered and engraved -- a versatile look that can go from elegant on Park Ave to funky fresh in the Downtown scene. Though this company is not exclusively about the custom designs (there is a gorgeous selection to choose from if you don't have your own idea), all you have to do is email her with your idea (shape, image, design, inspiration) and wait for the magic to unfold. Check it oooout:
I should also add that Vassil, a social activist in her own right, believes that "art, youth leaders and economic development are an integral part of defining our culture." So for every SLV piece sold, 10% of the profit is placed in a youth-led community arts fund that goes toward projects in under-served neighborhoods in NYC. Makes you wonder why people even shop at places like Tiffany & Co. anymore, right??!! Contact SVL by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, mention huffington in subject and receive 10% off!!
It's really a no brainer -- why look like everybody else when you can add a little 1, 2 punch to your look? Most of the products at these customization companies don't cost much more than buying "off the rack." And they're not just for artistic-oriented people -- imagine a corporate lawyer typing up a deposition in her custom SLV earrings, or a math teacher solving equations in his custom Apliiq hoodie. These brands are allowing you to exercise the creative muscles that maybe you never knew you had! And if you are artistically inclined, all the better!
...Now if there were only a way to get some T-DIY help with my obscenely huge Ikea furniture.
Follow Mihal Freinquel on Twitter: www.twitter.com/mihaldot