DIY: Design It Yourself

BY Green Stilettos / Dec 23, 2012

Photo by The Coachella Valley Art Scene

Photo by The Coachella Valley Art Scene

These last few hours before Christmas, with all that home-baking, wrapping up of the presents and other manual activities, make a perfect setting for this week’s green-to-glam idea starting with “D”: a good old DIY.

Some years back, a popular TV style gurus duo unequivocally declared, “Make do and mend only when the war is on”. These days, however, as austerity tightens its grip, the idea of doing it yourself when it comes to fashion is suddenly not all that unappealing.

While I’m not exactly the knitting-mittens-by-the-open-fire type myself (especially since this year I will be celebrating Christmas in 30-degree heat in Australia), I do hold DIY in high regard. Here’s why:

First, it is a sure-fire way to be genuinely unique. Your outfit will not have clones all over the high street; instead, it will be bespoke, a conversation piece, and a way to stand out from the crowd.

Even seasoned fashionistas of my acquaintance pride themselves on their knowledge of needle and thread. And, who knows, perhaps a skilled seamstress is not too far a cry from an aspiring fashion designer.

Second, it can save you money, particularly if we’re talking about a special occasion number. In any case, your own creation is guaranteed to give you way more satisfaction than its fast fashion prototype.

This I can vouch for having beaded my first-ever T-shirt in just under a month! It also gives a greater sense of appreciation for the people behind the hand-finished garments sold for $5 at your local fast fashion outlet.

Third, it is actually a very sustainable thing to do, especially if you are using recycled, pre-loved or vintage materials.

So how does one get started with fashion DIY? Actually, there a quite a few helpful resources out there.

For fabrics, you can try Source4Style, a NYC-based warehouse which can give you access to sample swatches – whether it be an organic cotton from India or a fleece from a US mill.

For ideas, check out the Chic Steals blog, which has a great selection of runway-inspired DYI patterns and much more, to keep you on trend and on budget.

Another great way to show your fashion sense is to create your own designs. Forget the old tie-dye, which fades with every wash. Earlier this year, Refinity, a Dutch fashion consultancy, has developed  a unique fabric ink that allows wearers to remove designs and re-apply them any time. The ink is machine washable and will only be removed when using a specific detergent developed by Refinity, reports Triple Pundit.

For vintage looks, have a look at ASOS’ Reclaimed Vintage selection, and of course browse your local thrift stores and vintage boutiques, some of which specialize in haute couture.

Finally, a clothes swap is another great way to refresh one’s wardrobe without breaking the bank or indulging in senseless consumption.

I hope you’ll enjoy the DIY experience and that together we can all begin fashioning a more sustainable future, one stitch at a time.

Merry Green and Glam Christmas to all those celebrating!



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