May 19, 2010

DIY, the industry

In my former job as a trend forecaster, one challenge that consistently puzzled us was how to monetize the DIY trend. A contradiction in terms, perhaps; and yet, from a more altruistic point of view, if businesses can somehow help encourage DIY-ers, won't the ultimate result be good for the environment?

While the Gap's long-forgotten customize-your-jeans campaign fell flat 6 years ago, more recently, the booming success of Etsy — chronicled here by the Times — proves that DIY can be a moneymaker, at least for the makers themselves. But there's a whole realm of possibility for helping would-be DIYers who lack the skills or equipment to make things themselves. Sure, clothing patterns and sewing manuals have always existed, but they're typically frumpy and out of date. Bringing them up to the moment, New York's own Built by Wendy created a how-to book and a series of "Built by You" patterns reflecting the label's own slouchy take on classic Americana.

Still, as with baked goods, it's the Parisians who do it best: last winter, Wool & the Gang brought their chicly packaged knitting kits Stateside, and those were such a hit that they've now opened their own New York shop. And back in gay Paree, the ironically named Sweat Shop (pictured above) is in fact a charming cafe featuring baked goods alongside 10 sewing machines, which would-be menders and stitchers can rent by the hour. The proprietors also sell kits, complete with patterns and fabric, for making one's own simple garments. Wait, let's get that right: pastries AND sewing? In one place? Watch out, Etsy Craft Night

NY Times via Ecouterre

No comments: