Did you spend your college lectures sketching pretty dresses? Have the perfect idea for a Diwali outfit but don’t know how to proceed? You no longer have to scour endless stores trying to find The One. A host of new websites put the tools right in your hands, allowing you to breathe life into your own designs, upload an image of what you want, or modify existing outfits as you please.
For instance, 24-year-old content writer Jannat Damji found a handbag design on ICustomMadeIt.com last week. This is a three-month-old website that allows users to personalise all the products they sell.
“I liked the design of a black leather handbag, but it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for,” says Damji. “So I used the website to change the colour to brown, subtract the embellishments, add four front pockets and turn it from a short sling bag to one with a long strap.”
Damji received her order earlier this week and it was exactly what she had envisioned. She is now back at the website, trying to create the perfect pair of cufflinks for her father, as a birthday gift.
“For the bag, the creator sent me images at every stage for approval. I love that I was so creatively involved in the product. It’s more than just another bag to me now,” she says. At Rs 3,100, the price wasn’t prohibitive either.
Similarly, 21-year-old decision scientist Pratik Nayak designed funny T-shirts specifically for different professions in January, on a website called Jack of All Threads. Using Facebook marketing, Nayak got more than 1,500 people to buy his designs over five months. He earned close to Rs 80,000 while still in college.
“There’s so much creativity in India, and entrepreneurial spirit, but few platforms in this space,” says Yash Kanoi, 23, co-founder of Jack Of All Threads, which lets you make and sell designs on T-shirts and hoodies. “This is an ecommerce model where the content doesn’t come from the company itself, but from millions of users. We are the support staff, while you are the entrepreneur. You can design and market your own products, and pick up skills and experience in both aspects.”
“Everybody has a fashion DNA and a brand shouldn’t dictate what you wear. The upside is that every time your design sells, you make money,” says Mridang Lodha, 24, founder of Faaya.in, a website that lets you design your own clothes. “You can become an amateur designer literally that easily.”
(With inputs from Abhishek Rawat)
ICustomMadeIt.com can be used in three ways — users can buy a pre-existing design from their stock, choose a design but make changes to it, or upload an image of an item they would like made. This week, the website also launched a ‘custom concierge’ service called Make It Mine, where users can send a reference image either by emailing email@example.com or send it over WhatsApp to +919028012751.
The website’s team will then match the request with one of its 1,300 creators, and contact you with price quotes within 24 hours. “Make it Mine is our attempt to encourage people to try to customise their own items,” says Raj Iyer, 43, director of the website. “It’s a myth that bespoke means expensive. Sometimes, it works out cheaper as there are no middlemen.”
Prices start at Rs 430
Jack of all Threads
At JackofAllThreads.co , you can make T-shirts and hoodies and start a ‘campaign’ to raise funds to produce them. The website launched at the start of 2014.
Once you finish your design, your personal campaign page will be launched. Here, you set your goal and profit margin per tee. Your goal can be a minimum of three sells.
Next, drive traffic to your page via social media. If you cross your goal, the website will produce your design at no cost to you. Users can decide their own prices, after the website gives them a base cost price.
Launched last September, Faaya.in has been used to create suits, shirts and dresses, and bridal lehengas and anarkalis. Users can pick a style, fabric, choose or modify designs, elements, patterns and fits. You can also upload your own pattern.
“We went through several stores looking for a bridal lehenga for my sister’s wedding a few months ago,” says Shivani Govind, 27, a brand consultant. “I heard about Faaya through a friend and we got them to adapt a designer lehenga she saw (seen at left). They did an excellent job, with really credible fashion advice. We ended up getting both her sangeet and wedding outfits from Faaya.”
Prices start at Rs 1,500
16Stitches , set up in July 2014, has an online software to design your own shirt. You can pick from a range of fabrics, patterns, collar styles, shirt cuts, etc, and get it monogrammed too.
The website has a travelling tailor service that will visit your home and take your measurements, so that your shirt is built to your size.
“Of all our customers, about 70% opt for the customise option,” adds co-founder Punit Chokhani, who set up the firm with his wife, Priyanka.
Prices start at Rs 1,400
One of the few websites that lets you customise your T-shirts using 13 Indian languages, TshirtLoot was launched in 2012. Users can choose round-neck or polo designs in a range of colours, add clip arts, designs or tag-lines, and text in any of the languages supported. These include Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Bengali, Urdu, Punjabi, Gujarati and Sanskrit.
“T-shirts are a medium of expression, and we didn’t want language to be a barrier for design. You can also experiment with cool fonts, and play around with designs,” says Deepak Siddharth, 28, managing director of the website.
Prices start at Rs 299
(The writer tweets as @panktimehta )