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Bespoke is the new black

Eat your high heel heart out ... bespoke is the new black.

Eat your high heel heart out ... bespoke is the new black.

The bespoke fashion business is booming - particularly online. From shoes to fine jewellery there aren't many things that you can't customise to your exact taste and needs. Shoes that don’t fit, jeans that aren't quite right - smart retailers are tapping into the reality that time poor women are increasingly shopping from the comfort of the couch with their laptops.

Here are four custom sites worth bookmarking.

WHAT: With over 85,000 fans on Facebook this site is super popular. Spend some time browsing and you'll fast understand why - in just a couple of clicks you can create every aspect of the perfect shoe.

HOW: The only restriction is the choice of a base mould then the rest is as limitless as your imagination. You'll get lost in the endless combinations of everything from colour to heel height to stitching. It’s mix and match heaven.

COST: $150 for sandals; $195 for ballet flats; $250 for 1½ to 3½ inch heels, $300 for 4 to 4½ inch heels and $350 for ankle boots.  

GOOD TO KNOW: If your beloved shoes don't fit then Shoes Of Prey will pay to have your shoes adjusted by a shoe repairer in your city.

WHAT: This one is all about the bling where everything from charm bracelets to wedding rings can be customised. Founder Pascale Helyar-Mora realised there was little choice in the online jewellery industry. “I was pregnant and the last thing I wanted to do was shop," she says. "I went online and couldn’t find jewellery I liked and didn’t have the energy or time to visit a store ... so I decided to turn that frustration into a business.”

HOW: Start by choosing a basic item from the ranges on offer. Then choose the metal, plating and finish and customise with stones or engraving.

COST: Pricing varies based on design and current gold and silver prices.

GOOD TO KNOW: They make the jewellery fast with most deliveries on your doorstep around fifteen days after you create and pay for your design.

WHAT: Shopping for jeans can be harder than shopping for swimsuits. This site takes the nearly-but-not-quite out of the ordeal. You know what I mean? You love the wash but not the leg shape or they fit your hips but not your waist – this service allows you to bespoke every aspect of the denim so it matches your body exactly.

HOW: Pop in your measurements... waist, hips, bottom, front rise, back rise, upper thigh, mid thigh, knee, calf, tummy shape, bottom shape and the site will create the perfect fit for you.

COST: Prices start at $165 including shipping and are capped at $175.

GOOD TO KNOW: This site will goes live on Monday - be the first to try it out.

WHAT: Design your own handbag. Show me a woman who wouldn't want to do that?

HOW: From hobos to clutches there are eight base designs to choose from and then select from hundreds of colours and finishes. There are literally hundreds of combinations to play with.

COST: Prices start at $139 - for a very cute iPad bag - with the average style around $200.

GOOD TO KNOW: There is a 100 day full refund guarantee on all bags and delivery is about six weeks.

Paula Joye is Editor of or you follow her on Twitter and Facebook.


8 comments so far

  • Paula, I checked out the shoesofprey site a few weeks ago when it featured in SMH. BORING! I can't understand why anyone would pay for a pseudo-original pair of shoes at the prices quoted. The basic lasts are unimaginative, and the choice of fabrics predictabe. Not sure how crap the shoe scene is in Sydney these days, but over here you could get any of these shoes, in all the styles and colours listed, for less than AUD100. Catch a plane people!

    kuala lumpur
    Date and time
    June 22, 2012, 11:28AM
    • Yes you're right - the website is predictable and there is a lack of imagination in the lasts. I guess you have to keep it simple when you are offering a custom made product and it is obvious that they are factoring in the cost of remakes in the price.

      However...My wife and her tiny size 4.5 feet has no luck with all of the local shoe suppliers (which are all made in Asia). Shoesofprey fixed that and all she was after was a pair of black court shoes. They fit - no worries - and that's why she was happy to pay the premium.

      She's been to Bangkok and she had no luck with shoes there either. Maybe she was looking in the wrong place. Hence, catching a plane is not the solution.

      PS: The only shoe that has ever fit her perfectly is a pair of Elazer's by JC. Perfect!

      Date and time
      June 22, 2012, 2:23PM
  • If I hear/see one more person use that tired cliche "[blah blah] is the new black', I'm going to scream. Try something original.

    And ...who would pay nearly $200 for a pair of ballet flats, bespoke or not? That's ridiculous.

    Date and time
    June 22, 2012, 11:48AM
    • People who can't buy their shoe size for love nor money in any of the chain shoe 'boutiques' that plague our malls and shopping strips.
      Being size 4.5 - 5 means that you're more or less restricted to children's shoes. Its actually nice to be able to find a pretty shoe that fits and finally partake in the obsession that most other women take for granted.

      Date and time
      June 22, 2012, 2:28PM
    • @Cate Ah, fairy nuff. I will never again complain about how my feet are average sized so it's hard to find my size in sales.

      It's still ridiculous that you should have to spend that much. There are places catering for women with very large feet but apparently no places for women with very small feet. Someone should fill this gap in the market. Are you entrepreneurial?

      Date and time
      June 22, 2012, 4:17PM
  • Hi Paula, men have an option for bespoke clothing too. It's a shame you only mentioned sites for the ladies.
    I get custom suits & shirts done at George & King (, and it's been great so far.

    Date and time
    June 22, 2012, 11:53AM
    • I believe that's what Executive Style is for. Daily Life and Life & Style are the women's pages. ;)

      Date and time
      June 22, 2012, 12:44PM
  • One word - FLUEVOGS
    Either online or The Sole Devotion shop on the corner of
    Degraves and Flinders St Melb stocks them. Similar prices - BEST shoes EVER! Women's and Men's styles.
    Once you buy one pair, you will never look back.

    Date and time
    June 22, 2012, 1:52PM

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