Design your own It bag: How high-end labels are now giving us licence to put our own stamp on the season"s must-haves

Design your own It bag: How high-end labels are now giving us licence to put our own stamp on the season's must-haves

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UPDATED:

23:04 GMT, 24 October 2012

A number of high-end fashion labels are
giving customers the chance to customise their most famous designs in a
bid to retain hold on a market that is continually striving for
individuality.

Coach and
Fendi are among the latest brands attempting to harness the attention of
a crafty new generation of fashionistas for which uniqueness is key to
standing out.

Coach's
Legacy Duffle, which has been a firm favourite with American women since
1971, is now available with kits that allow owners to switch the colour
of its strap, tassel and luggage tag.

Coach

Coach

Mix and match: Coach's Legacy Duffle (left),
which has been a firm favourite with American women since 1971, is now
available with kits that allow owners to switch the colour of its strap,
tassel and luggage tag (right)

Fendi

Fendi

Crafty idea: The Baguette, meanwhile, which
became Fendi's most famous creation after it appeared on Sex And The
City, now comes as a needlepoint kit, complete with an array of needles
and threads

It means that fans, which count Cat
Deeley, January Jones and Eva Longoria, can effectively give their bags a
seasonal upgrade, colour-blocking a black bag with an emerald green
strap, or classic navy with a searing hot pink.

The kits cost just a fraction of the price of a new bag too, at $98, compared with $348.

Cat Deeley Legacy Duffle

Which colour will she choose… Cat Deeley can now give her tan Coach Legacy Duffle a seasonal upgrade with a contrasting strap and tassel

The
Baguette, meanwhile, which became Fendi's most famous creation after it
appeared on Sex And The City, now comes as a needlepoint kit, complete
with an array of needles and threads.

Creative fans will need deep pockets though, the limited-edition bag costs $1,430.

Marc by Marc Jacobs is also getting
in on the act, with bird and logo motif bag charms retailing from $68-88
at Shopbop.com, while Mulberry's leather keyrings, with their long
straps, are designed to be used in the same way.

Of course, until
relatively recently, the combination of a hot label, classic design and
a cast of celebrity fans was enough to ensure It bag status, and women would carry them with pride.

But
Marcie Merriman, former director of brand strategy for Victoria’s
Secret, says shoppers today have a very different approach to fashion
from those of a decade ago.

She told Business Week that
social media and style blogs have helped give them the impetus to
develop individual styles, rather than sharing trend 'uniforms' with
their peers.

Indeed, It
bags can easily become ubiquitous if labels don't limit supply,
something many are loathe to do, as a must have item can drive huge
sales. So the opportunity and licence to customise can offer some fresh appeal to shoppers.

Mulberry

Marc by Marc Jacobs

Charmed: Mulberry's keyrings, with their long
straps (left), are designed to hang off the label's bags as well as
keys, while Marc by Marc Jacobs has an array of bag charms such as this
bird (right), $88 at Shopbop.com

Jason
Weisenfeld, Senior Vice President for Global Brand Communications &
Collaborations at Coach, told MailOnline that the new strap and tassel
kits have proved a huge success so far.

Jane Birkin

In disguise: Jane Birkin covers her namesake Hermes bag with stickers and badges

'The Coach Duffle, which launched in
1971, is America's first It Bag and an iconic part of American fashion,
so we're always offering customers a new spin on this classic,' he explained.

'Color
blocking and customization remain two strong fashion trends, so we
thought this would be a fun execution that marries the two.

'The response
has been overwhelming. We've seen several generations of Coach fans
respond to the Duffle Kit.'

Of course, giving customers the chance to personalise their bags is not a new idea.

Anya
Hindmarch's Be A Bag took the fashion world by storm when it launched
in 2001, and is a concept that is still going strong today.

But perhaps we should all be taking a leaf from the book of Jane Birkin, the namesake of the famous Hermes bag.

The Paris-based actress covers her own version with stickers and badges, and suggests others 'hang as many things as you can [on it] so it doesn't look like a bloody Birkin bag!'