For the uninitiated, DIY stands for “Do it Yourself.” In fashion, it refers to people who take it upon themselves to modify or create their clothing to make it their own. No one has a more personal style than a fashion DIY-er. It’s not easy to take a pair of scissors to a dress or write all over a pair of shoes if you haven’t done it before. I know. I used to think that the clothes were sacred! They were the way they were for a reason! This is clearly some mythic idea I concocted in my brain. It’s gone now. Payless has taken it upon themselves to make the first step easier by introducing the Friendship shoe.
This all-white shoe is sold with a package of three markers in order to give you the little push you might need to start scribbling on and personalizing your shoes. Originally, the idea came from kids. Remember, in school how important is was that EVERYONE in your class signed your yearbook or your cast (if you managed to break an arm)? These let you collect signatures with the need for tragic accident or the end of the year. But they don’t stop there. In addition to running wild with the pens that come with the shoes, you can also expand on the idea by adding feathers, paint, rhinestones, studs, fabric, or anything else in your craft arsenal. The possibilities are endless. The shoes come in both adult ($22.99) and children’s ($17.99) sizes and are available online as well as in stores in the New York Metro area (which includes New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania).
Did I mention that 100% of the proceeds from these shoes go to The Fresh Air Fund? This wonderful nonprofit program raises money to allow inner city kids to experience summer camp and outdoor activities free of charge. It literally provides kids with “fresh air.” Those of you who live in places that have large quantities of nature may not understand just how important this program is. I live in the center of Manhattan. On a regular day, it’s entirely possible that I may not actually see a tree, or anything else that grows. Kids in the city have little access to nature and little opportunity to run and play. This is an essential part of childhood and I cannot express to you how vital it is for a healthy childhood. I believe the Fresh Air Fund is providing children and families with a tremendous service.
To give you all some idea of the possibilities of the Friendship shoe, take a look at what our beloved Christian Siriano did with his pair:
That Christian has a way with feathers.
Another famous name, at least in the business of high-end athletic shoes and graphic design, also took a shot at the Friendship shoe. Jeff Staple has designed some of the most sought-after shoes in Nike’s history as well as limited runs for New Balance. He will be designing an entire collection of Airwalk shoes for Payless that will debut in Fall 2009.
So there you have it. The Friendship shoe gives you a chance to do some good, get some comfy kicks, and express your personality in one easy step.