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inspiration: Fringe


I recently picked up a leather skirt in my local (and most favourite) thrift store for a just couple of dollars. However, it was an incredibly awkward just below the knee length and I knew straight away I wanted to cut it into a mini – I mean, who doesn’t love a staple leather mini? Rather than just doing the old chop straight away, I decided to experiment with one of my favourite trends of the season – leather fringing. Seen all over the runways from Celine, to Valentino, to Altuzarra, to Gucci - fringing is clearly the jam this season. In an ode to what is soon to come (or has done so already – seemingly prematurely – according to net-a-porter), I decided to do a little in-between Before & After project by trimming this skirt into a little fringed number, as a super fun stepping stone between midi and mini. What I love about this fringed project is that it’s so, so (soooo) easy. As long as you can work a ruler and cut straight (sometimes not as easy as it sounds!) you’re good to go. Get ye to your local thifty!

Make a fringe leather skirt with a pair and a spare

Wearing: Witchery Knit, Dylan Kain Bag, DIY fringe skirt, Witchery hat, Tony Bianco Heels

This was the inspiration, a little bit of Vally and and little bit of Gucci.

fringe skirt inspiration spring 2014 www.apairandasparediy.com

You need: 

  • A thrifted leather skirt
  • Scissors
  • Chalk
  • Ruler

Make a fringe leather skirt with a pair and a spare

How to:

1. First I trimmed the skirt  skirt to knee length. If yours has lining (mine didn’t), make sure you trim and sew the lining up higher than where you propose the fringe to end.

Make a fringe leather skirt with a pair and a spare

2. Use a skirt you already have to gauge the length you want. I was planning on doing a raw hem once I had tired of the fringe so I marked that edge with chalk.

Make a fringe leather skirt with a pair and a spare

3. Cut up along the line of the side seam to the top of where you want to cut. Then use your chalk to mark lines at regular intervals so you know where to cut your trip.

Make a fringe leather skirt with a pair and a spare

4. Cut the fringe all the way around.

Make a fringe leather skirt with a pair and a spare

Voila! The perfect go between. Looking forward to showing you what I plan to do to this skirt once it goes mini. Talk about the skirt that just keeps on giving!

Make a fringe leather skirt with a pair and a spare

Once again a big thank you to lovely Marion Tessier for taking these photos for me, and Ana for the make up.

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Today marks the last day of the marathon that is fashion month, and to commiserate (or celebrate – whatever your jam) I’ve done a roundup of my favourite DIYable street styles. I’ve clicked next, next, next (next next neeeeeeext) until my carpal tunnels ached to pick out the styles I think you could recreate at home, and then strut down the street like you’re in the Tuileries (without the flight + outfit pricetag). You can thank me later!


Feathers and fringe, can one photo have any more DIY inspiration than this? Adding a little of either to your heels/skirt is super simple.


Sometimes it’s the least obvious styles that catch my eye the most. The shirt wrapped into a one shoulder style has the makings of a fantastic DIY (I’m assuming it came that way but can’t be sure?). Who doesn’t love making something amazing out of a simple black shirt?


Studded clutch (totally doable!) and wrapped curb chain. Done and done.


This inspires a cut and sew, dropping the hemline of a skirt and creating a cage with ribbon.


This look was one of the most photographed of the season, and I love just how easy it would be to  achieve this look (aka sesame street alphabet song has thrown up on you) if you so chose!


As a lover of all things transparent and plastic, I love this skirt, not only does it look cool, it’s the perfect wet weather skirt. I imagine making it using this construction.


If you have an old denim jacket lying around, you’d be mad if you don’t add some oversized varsity letters to the back.


I kinda wish I had front view of this top, but in my own world I imagine it’s a cashmere sweater tied into a bustier at the front. Not so great if you’ve got any breasts to speak of, but definitely something I would have passed off as a top when I was 15. Oh to be that age again with no concept of gravity!


This cage briefcase! Kinda looks like something you could make with chicken wire but I think it might be a little more complicated than that.


Skirt: same same but different right?


Cut outs are no longer clean and hemmed, now they’re slashed and torn. Makes it easy for the lazy DIYer!


Handcuff bracelet? Yes yes! You could spraypaint a plastic set but I’m not sure it would have the same visual effect. Perhaps some things are better left unDIYed?


I noticed a lot of jewelry box-like clutches on the streets this season, and I have to say I dig it. Even more when I can simply liberate mine from the nightstand and take it out for the evening.


For those of you worried about going whole hog into the plaid trend for fear of looking like a lumberjack, why not whack a few patches on your jeans instead? Although on second thoughts you may end up looking like a lumberjack who used old shirts to cover holes in your jeans… But, fashun!


Possibly the easiest DIY going around, add your favourite quote to the back of a khaki parka. For extra points, choose a quote from Shit Girls Say – ‘sorry I’m not sorry’ or something of the like.


The trench skirt has serious appeal this season, and those added polka dots? A bit of acrylic paint and bob’s your uncle.


 One of my all-time multifunctional wardrobe pieces, the maxi skirt turns into a dress in the blink of an eye. I would add a belt to mine because, well, breasts.


A bit of white leather fringe goes a long way to modernise a simple white shirt. Totally going on my list!


Backless and bowed, does it get any better than this? Add an oversized bow once you get scissor (and thread) happy on a simple dress.


Adore this cut out sweater that for some reason reminds me of a roman cathedral. Looks pretty fiddly  but can’t wait to make something like this soon!


How about replacing the back arm panels of your denim jacket with some crochet and tassels?


Crushing on anything tulle at the moment, and this layered skirt is right up my DIY alley.


A bit more inspiration for the wrapped mans shirt, totally going to have a play around in front of the mirror next chance I get.


Patches were the most DIYable trend on the streets this fashion week, the sillier the better. All you have to do is make sure you don’t burn yourself when you’re ironing them on (so pretty much anyone can make this).


 Too much? Or just the right amount?


Patches: exhibit b.


This grommet mesh skirt is screaming out to me. But how would I make it? Thoughts please!

Images: Style.com, Vogue, W Magazine, The Cut, Nasty Gal


In the past I always used to wonder about the process of designing – how do you get from a tangle of ideas to a fully fledged and (hopefully) well executed collection? As many of you will know a few months ago I launched a shoe line in collaboration with Tony Bianco, and was so lucky (one of those dream-come-true moments) to get the opportunity to be involved in the process from inception to launch. The best thing was that the Tony Bianco team game me pretty much free reign on conceptualising and designing the shoes myself, allowing me to be true to what I liked. The steps below are my experience of putting together a shoe collection and I was so lucky to havethe whole TB team to back me up. If there are any shoe designers out there reading feel free to chip in along the way with anything I missed. Read on for a little run down on how our shoe collection came about.

how to design a shoe collection (4)

how to design a shoe collection

How to: Design a Shoe Collection

1. Gather Inspiration ( 7 months prior to launch)

The first step in creating a collection of any sort is deciding on the common theme or inspiration you’ll base the pieces on. Without an underlying theme you may end up with a mis-matched set of pieces that aren’t cohesive (leaving people a bit like whuuut?). To decide on my inspiration I looked at lots of magazines and images I had saved over the years of things I liked to wear as well as DIY projects I had done. I then put together lots of mood boards – grouping certain ideas to see what popped out at me. One part of me wanted to do something completely out there and experimentative, but in the end I went with an idea that reflected my taste, the A/W season and the type of thing I love to wear.  Overall it was loosely inspired by french magazine editors – classic shapes and a colour palette of black, white, red and nude with simple but luxury details like curb chain, fringe and lacing.

2. Start Drawing (6 months before launch)

Although it’s possible to communicate ideas to a manufacturer or design team without doing any sketching (whether by hand or by computer), to me that seemed like the a risk, so although I’ve rarely done any sketching before (save for a period of constantly drawing  princesses in year 4), I did a little crash course in drawing shoes (and yes, the first few were horrendous).  You could say I created my own style but in the end I think it was the best way to convey my ideas. For anyone who thinks they can’t draw I’m proof that you definitely can if you practice. To start with I brainstormed more than 24 different designs based on my inspiration, from which we chose the ones we liked the best.

3. Review and Refine (6 months prior to launch)

Originally I had envisioned a few extra styles embellished with rhinestones (one of my favourite materials of the moment) but for clarity and cohesiveness of the collection we went with chain, fringing and lacing as the key details. Throughout the design process you have to make these decisions based on the cohesiveness of the collection, what you think people will like and what materials you can afford to use. It’s kind of like leaving one of your babies behind when you discard an idea and can feel a little brutal, but it’s worth it for a better set of designs at the end (at least you cross you fingers this will be the case).

4. Create & Assess Samples (5 months prior to launch)

Once you’ve decided on your chosen ideas, it’s time to create specs for the manufacturer to use to create the samples. These include all sorts of fancy shoe language like upper (the top part of the shoe) and last (the shape of the inside of the shoe) to determine exactly how the shoe will look in terms of both colour of all the different parts as well as construction. The specs are then given to the manufacturer and you hold your breath to see how the samples turn out.

5. Make changes (4 months prior to launch)

The manufacturer then provides you with samples of the styles so you can check them for aesthetics and fit. This is a really important step because even the best designs will likely need some tweaking. At this point we swapped out a few details so that they were true to what I had originally envisioned such as the colour and weight of the chain used.

6. Produce the line (3 months prior to launch)

This is pretty much a waiting step when the manufacturer goes away and creates all the styles for you – but you have to keep track of when they will be ready so you know the timeline for your promotions and launch.

7. Launch

As part of the launch we created a lookbook for the styles with my friend Margaret Zhang (talk about a fun day of shooting!) and I flew to Melbourne and hosted 3 DIY workshops. All in all loads of work but such an amazing process to be part of!

8. Celebrate!

how to design a shoe collection

Most designers will tell you that no matter how articulate you are about your ideas, there are always minor details you would change. As an author I know how true that is, but have to honestly say I was so happy with the way this collection turned out. Perhaps it was down the euphoria of seeing my name on the inside of a line of shoes – but all in all I couldn’t have been happier. I have to thank the TB team for giving me this opportunity – in my wildest dreams I never thought this would be something I would do (designing roadway systems and townhouses in my old job didn’t really prepare me for this!).

You can find the few remaining styles from the collection here and here.

In other news, it’s the last few days of the Share Style Win competition that Marg and I are judging, make sure you check out the website and enter by creating a look to win a $500 Visa debit card for you and 2 friends, as well items from the look you put together. Yay!