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In an age where social media and personal branding reign supreme, the popularity of customization comes as no surprise.
For the past few years, everyday shoppers and celebrities alike have been buying into the craze, from major fashion houses like Gucci, which debuted personalized handbags and bomber jackets this past year, to brands like J.Crew and Levi’s, who up-sell monogramming on virtually everything they offer.
It feels safe to say the trend has shifted from a come-and-go fad to a thriving, permanent category. But rather than just slapping an initial on a sweater, some brands are now willing and able to communicate directly with customers, working in tandem to create collaborative and totally customized, one-of-a-kind pieces.
From designing perfectly distressed jeans to building an entire handbag from scratch, the possibilities are proving endless.
Here, six brands that specialize in making things your way.
Mon Purse lets shoppers design their own perfect bag, with every single detail selected by the customer. You start by choosing from a handful of styles, including bowler bags, totes, clutches, and pouches. From there, you pick the leather texture, color, and hardware (like the zippers and accessories) as well as size; 3D technology on the site lets you see your progress as you go.
Shoes of Prey allows customers to virtually design shoes from scratch, so you never have to struggle to find a pair you like. Just like Mon Purse, you start by choosing from a wide variety of shoe styles; from there, make the call on what type of strap, toe shape, embellishments, color, material, and heel height you want. (Have you ever had this much say in .... anything?) The brand has come a long way since its start, extending its product offerings, introducing a run of influencer capsule collections — including a collaboration with inspiring women like Eleanor Pendleton, the founder and editor of Australia’s first digital magazine, Gritty Pretty — and, most recently, debuting a full collection of practical and stylish boots.
The Mighty Company
In case you’re feeling really splurgy (like, really), look no further than The Mighty Company, a Los Angeles-based jacket collection launched by visual artist and designer Jessie Willner. Alongside its permanent collection, the line offers some wildly cool (and equally expensive) custom pieces. You can opt for just words, which run you just under $1,000, or go really next level by adding a hand-painted portrait, studs, fringe, or even neon lights, all on the luxury leather jacket of your choice.
Pop & Suki
Founded by actress Suki Waterhouse and her best friend, Poppy Jamie, Pop & Suki is an accessories line rooted in customization, and arguably one of the most quintessentially millennial brands out there. (Personalized direct-to-consumer product wrapped up in that pink!) While the brand only offers three core products — a camera bag, a shopper tote, and a paperclip chain necklace — customers can mix and match add-ons to create countless iterations, from monogramming to tassels, key chains, personalized luggage tags, and even interchangeable straps that can take the camera bag from a crossbody to a backpack to a fanny pack to a wristlet. The line is pretty affordable, too, with bags starting at $195 and add-ons starting at $30.
Distressing or adding patches to your denim at home, DIY-style, sounds like a good idea. But in reality, it’s pretty hard to do a decent job without ruining one of your best pairs of jeans. Thankfully, M.i.h Jeans announced a custom denim service earlier this fall, which allows you to tailor, distress, or add hand-stitching, appliqués, or tassels to their jeans — either a pair you already own, or to one of the brand’s cool, ‘70s-vibe styles. Just submit a picture of your denim piece and the look you’re going for, and a stylist from the brand will consult with you on next steps. (For waxing and gold foiling, check out LA-based Denim Refinery.)
Launched by a former Ralph Lauren employee, Dresshirt is a made-to-order line of custom embroidered clothing that ranges from tailored jackets and silk scarves to, of course, well-made button-down shirts. While the collection starts off strong with well-designed pieces, the embroidery is the best part, and the site shows you exactly what yours will look like as you select colors and add your phrase. Not sure what to say? Check out the brand’s Instagram for tons of personalized inspiration.