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As we ponder

Terminally Unique

Pret-a-Porter-Prostitute posted a wonderful one-of-a-kind apparel shop online…

“….no editions is also a basis for various collaborations to utilize the technical possibilities to develop and create individual , single print designs on mostly any garment - … but also has ‘ publishing ‘ possibilities for larger quantities -”

It’s human nature to crave the feeling of importance, the feeling of being special. And we all are the same in our unique ways, and we’re all special in some way, yeah, some more than others, but it’s hard to feel different wearing the same outfits as someone across the globe. Once my mother came to visit me in London, she got off the Tube to meet me in the Hammersmith roundabout, a tiny shopping center with a Starbucks, MacDonald’s, Benetton, Blockbuster Video… she commented that England wasn’t so different from America. On one hand it’s sweet, but on the other hand disturbing how far one has to go to get away from globalization.

It’s interesting to see efforts to combat globalization, robbed identities, efforts to create a new kind of individualization… since online companies like cafepress.com and zazzle demonstrated that you can produce customized garments and still turn a profit, other online companies are taking it further… the first I heard of this was customized Converse… which we all knew had to happen eventually, my imagination went wild… finally gold cons with purple trim!
Steve Madden has their own version of custom designed shoes. But is it really “design”? It got me thinking about the desire for uniqueness. Once in a class my teacher said, “television kills imagination, kids today all want to draw video game characters and robots from cartoons”. I didn’t want to believe him, but I remember my brothers drawings were all of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Wolverine… I don’t even remember my own drawings, that’s how shot my long-term memory is.

The whole phenomenon has the kitschy quality of Paint by Numbers “I don’t know what America is coming to,” one writer complained to American Artist, “when thousands of people, many of them adults, are willing to be regimented into brushing paint on a jig-saw miscellany of dictated shapes and all by rote. Can’t you rescue some of these souls-or should I say ‘morons’?”

Could the same be said about fashion? StyleShake has an online own design studio, where you can create your ‘dream dress’ and have it in 10 days. That is as long as you want the styles and fabrics that exist in their program.
Ultimately, is this merely picking from what already exists? It’s fun, granted to dictate what I want from the click of a mouse, but really… am I engaging in the creative process? Is using the words “design” and “unique” tapping into very real and personal quest to find creative reservoirs, and perhaps delivering empty results?

I also wonder too, if this will do for fashion what Microsoft Word templates have done for graphic design. On one hand, fiddling with them, got me interested in design, but on the other hand it’s made a whole population take the design process for granted, because it’s not really just as easy as picking from a template.

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Discussion

5 comments for “Terminally Unique”

  1. Susie at StyleBubble was talking about this too - http://stylebubble.typepad.com/style_bubble/2007/10/clicky-clicky-f.html

    I think it could be good and fun. It would be almost impossible to get something truly unique unless you made the pattern yourself, but this could be a way to break out of the mold (somewhat). And, at least in my town, anything I would come up with is sure to be more “out there” than most, so it would be unique.

    Luv
    Poochie
    shoedaydreams.blogspot.com

    Posted by Princess Poochie | November 1, 2007, 8:57 pm
  2. Does any one remember when Vans did this back in the day? You used to be able to bring in the canvas with the pattern of your choice. Very cool when I was 10.

    Anyway thanks for posting this, because I didn’t want to work today. ;)

    Posted by marimello | November 2, 2007, 9:45 am
  3. @princess poochie… yeah, i read that post by susie, i was going to link to her, but she wasn’t the only one to write about it, and we are talking about completely different aspects of this site. thanks for letting me know though!

    i guess what i’m bothered by is the designation of the terms ‘unique’ and
    ‘design’. you don’t necessarily need a unique item of clothing to make it your own…

    @marimello… oooooh yeah! i forgot about those, they were cool… dang. i wish i got a pair.
    did you?

    Posted by jennine | November 2, 2007, 9:54 am
  4. NO. and I will hate my mom forever. Just kidding. I was satified with 4 consecutive pairs of kelly green high tops and shoes.

    And regarding that article; I think anything tagged unique, usually isn’t. “Out there,” never is. Usually I think it refers more to how the clothing is worn or in the “out there” case, how an outfit is rocked. Especially down in lalaland. Sigh.

    Posted by marimello | November 2, 2007, 12:09 pm
  5. You are right, there is a very ‘paint-by-numbers’ feel to all of this…

    Posted by riz | November 3, 2007, 6:53 am

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