Not, not of me. (I wish!!)  I was very surprised to see in the August issue of Vivi magazine, no less than TWO DIY features!  They call it “Deko” (short for “decoration”)…but it’s DIY, to be sure.

Times are totally a-changing!

Yup, that model on the far left is part of the DIYers since she actually painted on her Balenciaga.  The heart trembles.

If you’re familiar with Vivi, it’s a fashion-forward, extremely trendy Japanese magazine (kind of like Marie Claire…kinda…but with few written features, crammed with product shots and street style photos, as well as the same familiar models wearing the latest and trendiest) – and it’s packed to the gills with trendy photos of all the latest clothing, shoes, and accessories.  It’s a consumer’s heaven!

Unlike the Gothic and Lolita movements in Japan, where many followers are extremely crafty and make their clothing, accessories, jewelry, and bags from scratch (and there are many magazines devoted to this…my fave is ‘Gosu Rori‘), the trendy “Gal” – style has never espoused making anything yourself…unless it’s wildly complicated nail art, or maybe, recently, adding Swarovski crystals and deco objects to your cell phone, compact mirror, pen, business card holder, or date planner.  (“Deko”; i.e., “deco”rating your accessories with crystals and plastic objects, has been a trend for the last two years, but it didn’t seem to reach beyond the ream of blinging out your accessories.)  Nope, its mantra was “buy, buy BUY!” and where to buy, what’s the newest, what’s selling the most, how to navigate a sale, etc.

Above, from right to left: Frill Socks by adding lace; Super Destroyed Denim by cutting and bleaching: M.J.-Style Oxfords by adding crystals; Studded Vest by ironing on stud trim

Since the mid-nineties (or even earlier), there has been a “remake” subculture, mostly centered around Harajuku, where girls and guys would refashion their clothing and accessories – upcycle them, if you will.  Many shops in that area solely deal in used clothing and upcycled clothing, and there are quite a few brands that create fashion-forward, gorgeous pieces using only recycled materials.  (guriguri is one of my ABSOLUTE FAVES – their bags are to die for, and with a price tag to match.;-)

Above, from right to left: Fabric-Lined Basket Bag; Lace-Trimmed Shirt; Metallic Trim Headband; Lace-Inset Tee

But this is not making items from scratch, like the Gothic Lolitas; nor is it upcycling, really.  It’s unequivocally D.I.Y.: i.e., adding low-cost embellishments and using a variety of techniques to add value and trendy style to a piece.

“Trendy DIYs”: (clockwise from top right) Short-Sleeve Sweatshirt; Fringe-Shoulder Tee; Damaged T-Shirt aka the Balmain; Bejeweled Sandals; Frilly Lace Angel Tank; Bleached Denim.
Bottom Row, left to right: “3 stylists take on a plain white T”: French Blouse with pearls, ribbon, and gold buttons; Fabric-Collared Button Tee; Shredded and Safety-Pinned

So this is HUGE for all this to be in such a mainstream mag.  The projects are cute and still look “Japanese” (though many of us out there who’ve been following the DIY movement on the internet and blogosphere can say that we’ve seen a lot of this already)…but this is a huge leap forward in terms of attitude and fashion-consciousness for this style.  It is yet anther facet of consumer culture (instead of buying the piece ready-made, you now have to amass the tools and materials to add to the store-bought item), so it may indeed start spreading through this subculture, so focused as it is on “new” and “trendy” and “pretty/sexy.”  I am so keeping tabs on this!

The second feature in the magazine: reader-submitted “Kobe Craft Club” (a group of girls who get together to do DIYs – like the Japanese version of the SixSixSick girls?!): (from top left, clockwise) CUT OFF/RESIZED DIYs: Loose Denim Shorts; Loose T; GENERAL HAIR ACCESSORIES: Ribbon Corsage; Flowered Corsage; RECYCLED ACCESSORIES: Triple-Chain Necklace; Stuffed Animal Charm; Long Necklace Strap

I do wish that one of the features had made mention of these projects that have already been shared on the internet by many other crafters, and offered no resources for people who are interested in DIY’ing more.  And I certainly doubt Tavi, Keiko Lynn, and Julia Frakes being icons of DIY – though all their blogs are arresting and creative for other reasons.  Another disconnect that Japanese pop culture seems to have with the rest of the world.  Ah well.  Things are definitely moving forward!

 from top left, clockwise: Lace on a Canvas Tote; Corsage Denim Shorts; Corsage Mini Skirt; Pearl-Embellished Tank; Applique Patch Dog Clothing; Ribbon & Lace Dresses Basket Handbag; Flowered Box; Softserve Ice Cream Jewelry Box [the epitome of the
Sweets Deko movement of the last 2 years]; Flower Makeup Pouch; Flower Bear Series mirrors; Frill Blouse w/ Leopard Hem; Beaded Bikini; Studded Leather Vest

I also found a book at the bookstore called “Deko Remake” which appears to be the official designation for DIY’ing your clothing and accessories (thus distinguishing it from the Japanese “Deko” bling embellishment movement and from the “remake” or upcycle movement)…more on this book and its contents later.



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