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Grace Atwood
After lusting after a $595 necklace by New York-based jewelry company DANNIJO, blogger Grace Atwood was able to create a similar one for only $100 (around her neck and right).
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TODAY.com
updated 10/24/2011 8:36:38 AM ET 2011-10-24T12:36:38

During Milan Fashion Week Spring 2012, Dolce & Gabbana tickled the fashion world by sending models down the runway with playful earrings made out of gilded coins and bowtie pasta.

Three weeks later, DIY blogger Erica Chan, who runs the site HonestlyWTF, posted a guide to re-creating those same pasta earrings and soon her fans and followers were heading to the supermarket and the bead store to make them for themselves.

The pasta earrings can be considered dangly emblems of the resurgance of DIY, a trend in personal style that lets crafty fashionistas replicate high-end fashion labels at their kitchen tables. While a few years ago it might have been considered embarassing to admit to wearing a 'homemade' piece of clothing or accessory, the proclamation “I made this!” is part of the contemporary DIY movement's appeal.

For style bloggers like Chan, DIY isn’t just a hobby: it’s a movement. Young women, fed up with generations of generic, ready-made clothing and unaffordable high fashion have realized that they can re-invent the looks they see in Vogue for a fraction of the price. What’s more, the things they create for themselves are customized just for them.

“We're in an era where self-expression is preeminent,” says Bobbie Thomas, TODAY style editor. “As a culture, we sort of hit overload in the late ’90s and early 2000s, with 'fast fashion' stores dominating the scene and the Internet providing instant access to all things style and beauty. And it's of course wonderful for everyone to have these things, but naturally there's been a reaction — we're all craving items that feel personal or special."

Not your mother's DIY
Unlike previous iterations of DIY, which relied heavily on skills like sewing or knitting, the most current DIY projects can usually be made with glue, rather than needle and thread. These projects aren’t aimed at housewives with ample time and skills to devote, but rather for the woman who might have two hours on a Saturday afternoon to make a bracelet to wear out that night.

The ability to quickly and cheaply make something to go along with a pre-existing outfit or wardrobe, without having to run to the store, is part of the appeal. Traditional crafting and home projects aspire to a relatively uniform end-product: the perfect pie, the perfect sweater, the perfect shelving-unit. DIY, however, prizes innovation and imagination.

TODAY DIY Style Week: Foiled fashion from Bobbie Thomas
Enter the TODAY DIY Style Week Challenge!

“Putting your own personal stamp on something you have created is truly empowering,” says Erica Domesek, who runs the blog PS I Made This. “Knowing you can create fun fashions and do not have to break the bank to achieve that elated sense of gratification is infectious.”

A 'modern gateway to personal style'
Erica started doing DIY three years ago, when a friend told her about a $600 necklace she was thinking of purchasing.

“I told her she was insane for spending that kind of cash, and to come over,” Domesek told TODAY.com. Domesek and her friends were able to successfully recreate the necklace in question, and soon started meeting weekly to work on other projects. Some time later, Domesek happened to wear one of her necklaces backstage at a fashion show, and a woman asked her the name of her jewelry line.

“‘I dont have a line, I have a craft club,’” Domesek replied.

honestlywtf.com
HonestlyWTF re-imagined Dolce & Gabbana's pasta earrings.

It was then that she decided to start a blog to share her projects and educate people on how to recreate high fashion looks at home. The blog, PS I Made This, was a fast instant success, and in 2010 Domesek released a book of the same name. When it comes to the DIY movement itself, Domesek is a zealot.

“Finding ways to reuse, repurpose, and reinvent everyday objects not only helps the pocketbook but also allows people to express their individuality,” she told TODAY.com. “DIY is the modern gateway to personal style.”

The rapid spread of DIY can be largely traced to its very modern platform: blogging has taken what would otherwise be a solitary, isolated activity and amplified it by allowing people to share their projects, creating a vociferous community of crafters who comment and encourage each other’s projects.

“AMAZING!!! this is absolutely a fantastic DIY and I actually like yours better!” wrote one commenter on Chan’s D&G pasta earrings.

“Astonishing! I just have to try this!” wrote another.

DIY style stars
Individual style bloggers like Domesek and Chan amass a huge following of readers who tune in every day, not only to see the latest DIY projects, but to see what the bloggers themselves are wearing, reading, dog-earring in magazines, and thinking. Erica Domesek has amassed a staggering 20,000 followers on her Twitter account, and HonestlyWTF’s creators frequently post on personal travel experiences and general fashion. In this sense, DIY serves as another method of personal branding, and afficionados become fans not just of the projects, but of their creators themselves.

TODAY DIY Style Week: Foiled fashion from Bobbie Thomas
Enter the TODAY DIY Style Week Challenge!

Though projects vary in difficulty and time length, the general process for the dissemination of a project tends to be fairly similar: DIY pioneers like Chan and Domesek see a trend, recreate it, and then post detailed how-to instructions on their blogs. Readers are then invited to recreate the looks, adding their own touches and flourishes. This bespoke, custom-made quality is one of the factors that makes DIY so appealing.

“People want things that are one of a kind, customized to exactly the way they want it,” says Grace Atwood of the blog Stripes and Sequins. “DIY allows you to customize everything.”

Atwood had been style blogging for almost a year before she turned to the world of DIY, after she received compliments on a striped tote bag she had made for her sister.

“People would ask me where they could buy my bags, but I told them to make them!” she told TODAY.com. “From then on out, my DIY posts easily became my most popular posts.”

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Curing sticker shock
If the allure of owning a one-of-a-kind piece is one of the appeals of DIY fashion, the price ticket is certainly another. Fans of DIY have found a way to stay current with the trends in a down economy, without suffering from sticker shock.

Atwood certainly didn’t let a steep price tag stop her from attaining the necklace of her dreams. After lusting after a $595 “Bramley” necklace by New York-based jewelry company DANNIJO, Atwood was able to create a similar one for only $100 — one sixth of the cost of the original.

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“DIY is a wonderful thing because it allows you to breathe new life into older pieces and save money so that you can splurge on other things,” she says.

Bobbie Thomas agrees that the price tag of the DIY process is often just as stylish as the end product.

“The positive benefits of being resourceful are considered en vogue,” she says. “Upcycling is a new buzzword, and it’s considered chic to be frugal — with some eager to boast about their savings.”

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Understandably, it’s the easiest and quickest projects that seem to be the most popular with fans and readers of DIY blogs.

“Our hex nut bracelet, inspired by a Giles & Brother necklace, has probably been replicated the most as it only requires hex nuts from the hardware store and some butcher's twine.” Chan tells TODAY.com. That’s only about an hour of work and .50 cents per hexnut: the Gilles & Brother necklace starts at $350. With a price difference like that, it’s no wonder DIY continues to grow and grow.

“Millions of people around the globe are embracing the DIY movement which is stronger than ever.” Domesek says. “The P.S.- I made this... ideology of ‘I see it. I like it. I make it’ has caught on.”

Interested in trying out your hand at a few DIY projects of your own? TODAY.com can show you how! Each day, we’ll highlight one DIY star, who will demonstrate a creative project in fashion, beauty and accessories. Starting Oct. 24, be sure to check out TODAY.com for DIY style tutorials:

Monday:TODAY style editorBobbie Thomas
Tuesday: Erica Domesek of PS I Made This
Wednesday: Geneva Vanderzeil of A Pair and A Spare
Thursday: Kristen Turner of Glitter ‘n Glue
Friday: Jenni Radosevich of I Spy DIY

Have you made a fantastic DIY project of your own? Enter the TODAY DIY Style Week Challenge! Send in a photo of your DIY project. The winning submission will get a how-to post featured on TODAY.com and a beauty bag from Bobbie Thomas.

© 2012 MSNBC Interactive.  Reprints

Photos: Coveted creations from DIY style bloggers

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  1. Coveted creations from DIY style bloggers

    By Rina Raphael

    Why buy it when you can make it? To kick off TODAY's DIY Style Week (Oct. 24-28), we rounded up the top DIY fashion bloggers and showcased some of their best projects. Got your own great DIY style item? Enter our DIY challenge for a chance to win a prize and post on TODAY.com.

    Glitter 'N Glue
    Kristen Turner of Glitter 'N Glue is a big believer in looking chic without breaking the bank. "I think the growth of the DIY movement can be contributed to two things: hard economic times and expanding creative social networks," she told TODAY.com. "We want to buy the latest and greatest in designer fashions, but we might not be able to afford them."

    Her homemade lucite cuff, a style taken from Tory Burch, DSquared and Vionnet, comes complete with a whimsical brooch.

    Find out how to make it: Tory Burch-inspired cuff (Glitter 'N Glue) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Honestly...WTF

    Erica Chan Coffman and Lauren Kolodny, the masterminds behind Honestly...WTF, boast an extensive archive of the most adorable and fashion-forward DIY items. From bowties to Miu-Miu-inspired sneakers, they have artfully captured the "it" items of the season.

    One of our favorite projects? The dynamic duo experimented with bleach to tie-dye a shirt that was effortlessly cool.

    Find out how to make it: Bleach tie dye (Honestly WTF) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. P.S. I Made This

    It's impossible to discuss DIY fashion without mentioning Erica Domesek of P.S. I Made This. The energetic and constantly innovative DIY designer somehow manages to transform everyday items with extremely accessible tutorials. (It's amazing what she can do with a Sharpie marker.) With her infectious enthusiasm, you'll have no choice but to give in to her genius.

    "I encourage all forms of inspiration. From runways, red carpets, magazines, or a shopping trip – keep your eyes open," she told TODAY.com. "Dive into DIY! It's truly infectious, exciting and empowering."

    Her adorable hair comb, inspired by the Thakoon runway, makes us want to solely wear buns this season.

    Find out how to make it: Woven hair comb (PS I Made This) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. I Spy DIY

    Jenni Radosevich of I Spy DIY works in fashion, so it's no surprise she spends her time recreating trends. "The feeling you get when you tell admirers you did it yourself is beyond gratifying," she said of her stylish projects, which range from Kanye-inspired denim shirts to sparkly cat eye sunglasses (as spotted on J.Lo) .

    She recently updated the casual chic waist purses seen on the Diane von Furstenberg runway with a some leopard print, a chain and, of course, a glue gun.

    Find out how to make it: DVF-inspired waist bag (I Spy DIY) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. ... love Maegan

    Maegan Tintari of ... love Maegan manages to cover all areas of DIY: clothing, hair, home decor and more. The stunning and talented blogger regualry posts fun, interesting projects as well as photos of her amazing signature style. (How does she do it all?!)

    Maegan pays homage to old Hollywood glamour with a sexy, vintage-inspired bustier made of lace and sating ribbons.

    Find out how make it: Lace haltier bust (lovemaegan.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. A Pair & A Spare

    Geneva Vanderzeil of A Pair & A Spare is all about recreating the most coveted trends off the runway. "It’s also about people wanting to feel a greater sense of individualism in what they wear," Vanderzeil said of her work. "People want to make something that feels unique and special – even if it’s just embellishing it slightly."

    She recently put her spin on the Sass & Bide necklaces with a little help from spraypaint. Like graffiti for your jewelry collection!

    Find out how to make it: Neon yellow collar necklace (A Pair & A Spare) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Bobbie Thomas

    While TODAY style editor Bobbie Thomas believes that "style is the way you speak to the world without words," it doesn't have to be store-bought.

    "You don’t necessarily have to sift flour or break out a sewing machine," Thomas said. "You could also consider a creative semi-handmade alternative." From opting to wear a dress backwards or inside-out, or using a safety pin to alter its shape, Bobbie's unique philosophy centers around the idea that you don't have to do it (all) yourself, but you can do it your way.

    Need some metallic shine? Inspired by the Cynthia Rowley Spring 2012 runway, Bobbie updates the LBD with some foil glue.

    Find out how to make it: Foiled fashion (Bobbie Thomas) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Stripes & Sequins

    A self-described "human magpie," Grace Atwood of Stripes & Sequins has a love of "shiny old-lady jewelry" and admits she has "a little neon obsession."

    The Cape Cod native explains how to make these Tom Binns-inspired statement earrings with nail polish, glue and some pre-set rhinestones. Who knew your Essie collection had so many uses?

    Find out how to make it: Tom Binns-inspired neon earrings (Stripes & Sequins) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Studs and Pearls

    Kirsten Nunez of Studs and Pearls is "convinced DIY is the best form of self-expression." The New Yorker's blog archive stretches across all style categories, from leopard glam manicures to geometric lace tops.

    Her DIY galaxy handbag and heels offer an affordable option for those coveting Christopher Kane's most recent intergalactic-inspired collection.

    Find out how to make it: Galaxy handbag and heels (Studs and Pearls) Back to slideshow navigation
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