Custom made and design conscious products and services feed consumers with the feeling that they have purchased something that matches their own individual image. With our fascination with designer logos, there is also a counter culture in response. Not everyone can afford to indulge in adding to their closet the latest bag from Louis Vuitton or that cute appliqu number from a recent Dior collection by Galliano. Prada with her pocket-pals-robot key chain accessories might be Miu Miu’s version of designer Hello Kitty. The irony is that this season, these design houses are trying to convince you of buying their knock-off of the do-it-yourself look.
For authentic do-it-yourself and handmade accessories, check out www.PlainMabel.com. Introduced by Tara Mackay in 2003, this site is one of many others appearing that feature independent artists and designers who submit their work to the site’s inventory. The menu features products categorized by "Bags", "Jewelry", "Accessories", "Stationary", as well as a section for crafts for the home. This is an excellent outlet for those who have the skills to create and the entrepreneurial motivation to put what they've got out there. Other highlights include a section for artist information where one can give a brief description of company/designer/product information and direct links to associated websites.
Even if you're not looking to buy, check out what’s happening in this market. If you're crafty, take advantage of this site’s invitation to show your own work. There are some of us who could do-it-ourselves, but don't have the time or the skills and would still prefer to get the "look". It’s fun to see the possibility that each one of us have to create. Designers can see and compare what they, too, can make after viewing this diverse catalog of unique accessories. To get that knock-off of the designer knock-off just click on Plain Mabel.
Reviewer: Glenda Ronduen, FIDM Library Staff Member