Echem: Thoughts on DIY.

At LEAST 6 people have emailed me a photos of the shoes on the left. At least. They are Maison Martin Margiela, Fall 2012, and cost $535, HERE. On the other side, we have the Toms I DIY-ed in April. “What came first?” they asked, or “Who copied who?” or “Did you see this?”

This isn’t the most novel idea in the world (although selling them for $535 dollars is) but if you google, “Splatter paint sneakers” among a bunch of lightly splattered Converse, you see that these and mine, are the only ones that are concentrated on the toe like that.

Coincidence? Probably.

I’ve been asked before (on a panel about DIY) if I think DIY hurts the bigger retailers, because people are making things instead of buying them. I said not even a little bit. Why? Because A. DIY is just another name for crafting- which has been around forever- and is an integral part of the human experience, I believe. Until recently, everyone in the world made things with their hands. Everything was a DIY.  I think that  the same way people are moving away from mass produced food in favor of artisinal foods, people are returning to the idea of the homemade, and the spirit of crafting  and creation may be something that as human beings we need to feel. I know that if I’m in a bad mood, either making something or working out are the two of the things that can snap me out of it the best. Making things gives me a rush. (I am CREATOR NICOLE. I MAKE STUPID GLASSES FOR PRETTY. I RULE WORLD TODAY.)  Bottom line, its primal.

And B. the spirit of DIY is being delivered VIA bigger retailers these days. Because of DIY’s popularity, you see things like  $250 tie dye  Proenza shirts at Barney’s, and  $228 macrame bracelets from Free People. Its a question of the chicken and the egg, and I think in this case that DIY is informing street trends and flooding blogs, and because of THAT it has infiltrated main stream stores. And NOT the other way around. (But lets get this straight, painting the bottoms of your shoes red is not “DIYing Louboutins”, its LAME.)

I could be wrong. But this is why you should never feel bad to DIY. Trust me, the big guys aren’t suffering and in fact, they just might be reading your blog.  

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  1. amen, sister!

  2. I 100% agree with everything you said here! Also, even if you HAD copied those shoes 1. yours are better and more tailored to you, which is so often the reason we diy: not just “hey I can do that”, but “hmm, that’s cool but I think I can do it better” and 2. charging over 500$ for those is pretty much begging people to make their own. You’d have to be crazy. Seriously.

  3. I see all these articles about DIY knockoffs being bad, hurting designers etc… I have my own opinions about that and post DIY knockoff all the time. And then I found this Tumblr through inspiration & realisation and my mind was blown: And some of my favorite designers are on this list of “being inspired by” (nicely put) Balenciaga.

  4. I love the attitude you have about this.

  5. littlebadwolf says:

    it it true that mittzi romney just painted the bottoms of his flip-flops red? or did she do it for him?

  6. I love these…so fun! Love your blog, thanks for sharing!

    Love, Jamie Herzlinger

  7. completely agree. I think that the flow of ideas between big retailers and diy is back and forth. On the one hand did you see the kandi bracelets being sold at Hot Topic? On the other side there are sites like which is directly inspired by runway trends…
    I think its a fabulous thing on either side of the equation because hopefully the endgame is that each side pushes each other to new levels of creativity. :)

  8. Sarah says:

    I came across your site on pinterest and I completely agree with your comments on DIY. More importantly, I L-O-V-E your splattered Toms!! Would you possibly have some I can buy??

    • Nicole Cohen says:

      I dont really sell them, I can talk you through it if you like, or if you really want, you can buy a pair and have them shipped to me and I can do it for you.

  9. Amazing idea! Your blog is truly wonderful, thank you for the bold inspiration! Home For Handmade


  1. […] smart thoughts on DIYing.  agree, wholeheartedly. […]

  2. […] smart thoughts on DIYing.  agree, wholeheartedly. […]