Tuesday 26 January 2010

Stud Muffin

Images: Marcia Madeira for Style.com, Tobi Jenkins/ gorunway.com/ Rex, Net-a-porter.com, asos.com, David Giles, oasis-stores.com, bonadrag.com, Vincent Gapaillard for Wallpaper Magazine, Michael Baumgarten and Xavier Young for Style Magazine

What is it with rock music that it has to revolve around snobbery? How fondly I remember, back in my teens, when I leapt upon every opportunity to reel off a name of bands I worshipped, about whom I was prepared to go on ad nauseam, to anyone halfway bothered to listen.

Now, it seems, the hob-nailed Doc Marten is on the other foot, regarding conversations within the rock fan community. Boy, do they ever like to talk about music, but on one condition: That your music taste matches theirs to the letter. Drop a name they disapprove of, and you’re looking at something resembling a lobbyist political rally, or an aggressive debate, victory for which goes out to the most unhealthily stubborn.

Of course, as a humble outsider, I don’t know what goes on in the heads of these allegedly fat cat record industry moguls. What I do know is I’d easily equal them in the wealth stakes if I had a pound for every band name I dropped, only to face a barrage of: “They’re sellouts!”/”I liked them before they sold out!”, “Oh my god, they’ve totally lost it!”, “They’re too commercial!”, “They’re sooo derivative!” and even “They’re not that original, they just ripped off a load of prog rock bands before them, that you haven’t heard of, and took all the credit!” etcetera - plus a host of conspiracy theories that would awe and perturb George Orwell. Never one to take the smile-and-nod doormat stance on the matter, I can’t help thinking of the Soren Kierkegaard quote: “People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid!” Yes, I fully appreciate that this is a free country, and that everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, but that just takes the proverbial!

As for where alleged “plagiarism” is concerned, surely everything’s a little bit derivative, and has been, especially since the latter half of the last century. It’s not for reasons regarding cash, conspiracies and men in suits, either, rather that creativity of any persuasion doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and that influence from what’s gone before is a perfectly natural, rational and inevitable process - certainly more so than some pretentious, half-arsed attempt to reinvent the wheel. Isn’t it how you use said influences and where you go from there that creative flair - or lack thereof - comes into play?

Funnily enough, the same can be said of fashion, especially given it’s knack for pillaging the past, from pre-Raphaelite through to punk. Yet, at the same time it needs to invent new trends worth us putting our hands in our pockets for, season upon season. Hence the birth of postmodernist pastiche, or, less poshly put, it ain’t what you do it’s what you intend to do with it – whether you want to mix your freshly ripped-off influence with another one, stylistically refine it or merely rehash it’s key pieces in expensive, fashion-friendly fabrics – that’s what gets results!

Here’s an example worth mentioning: Punk – subversion, offence, two-fingers backwards at “good taste,” oh and also at consumerism, before edging its way into consumerist spheres and (shock, horror!) selling out. 30 years on and studs and chains are doing the rounds again in fashionista circles, but, this time, looking a world away from punk’s perdition-bound protagonists of old. The studs are all glam and polished, and sit in neat little rows on frocks and accessories alike, cutting a figure that’s decidedly more New Bond Street than Camden High Street. It’s chic, it’s distinctive…and it’s easy-peasy to do.



…Okay, I know I said easy, it’s certainly simple and, I’d say, fairly self-explanatory just a word of warning, it proved a bit more on the fiddly side than I expected when I, in true Chic Cheat tradition, road-tested the method myself. Don’t let it put you off, though, because it also means I can say, from experience, that the results are definitely worth it.


Okay, the example I chose to do, which was a geometric pattern in small studs, worked in two stages, the mapping out and drawing of the design (which took about 6ish hours, if my memory serves me) and a few 6 or 7-hour days to put the studs in.

Total Cost

It just depends on what you want to customise and how many studs you want to use. Accessories such as gloves, shoes and bags are generally easy to get directional trends with, using an affordable amount of studs, whereas clothing, especially dresses, can prove a pricier venture, but I think I’ve found a solution which I’ll mention shortly in this entry…

You Will Need

•A garment or accessory to customise – and, for once, I’m gonna leave this option open as the possibilities are endless.
• Studs – while trawling the boundless realms of Ebay, I found a jolly nice punk emporium, www.studsandpunks.co.uk, where studs retail at around 6p each when you buy them in packs of 100. Doesn’t sound like much, I know, but bearing in mind you might be looking within the region of 1000 to cover a whole dress, and that you still have to allow for postage and packing, believe me, it adds up!
BE VERY CLEAR ABOUT HOW MANY STUDS YOU NEED – if it’s less than 200 (say, for accessories, such as shoes, bags and gloves) go for studs, otherwise, try some metal beads. I found some online, at the following web addresses, which reminded me of metal studs and would be far less expensive to buy in bulk:



• Graph paper, before you put your hand in your pocket for a pad of graph paper, the good news is you can print some for free online at the following address:


• Long-nosed pliers
• Scalpel or unpicker
• Masking tape (optional, but recommended, in my humble opinion)
• Pencil, marker or ruler if you’re drawing your own geometric patterns.

And this is how it goes…

(…The method that is:)

•Choose and/or plan out your design on your graph paper, lay your garment out flat and attach your graph paper, going through one layer, to the right side of your garment.

Graph Paper – You do the Math!

A good way to get perfect grid-like stud patterns is to pin some graph paper to your garment, aligning it with the edge to make sure it’s straight and simply follow the pattern by planting a stud on the corner of each square.

The best bit about printing graph paper from the web is you can program how far apart you want your squares, and therefore studs on your final garment. Don’t put them too close together, even quarter-inch studs need only be a centimetre apart at the closest, otherwise they’ll be on top of each other, you’ll lose the geometric shape and you’ll find yourself using up more studs per area, so it’ll end up costing you a bomb!

You can either follow the grid patterns directly or use them to map out other types of geometric patterns that are hot right now:

Square Grid Style:

Images: As before

Self-explanatory, this one, especially if you print out your grid paper in dot form. Plonk it onto your fabric and plant your studs on the dots/corners.

Alternative Grid Style:

Images: As before, also by Toby Hudson for Sunday Times Style Magazine

Same idea as the grid style above, but alternating the lines on which you put your studs, like so…


Images: as before, also Religion Jacket, wardrobemag.wordpress.com.2009/06/29

Tailor-made for pyramid studs, this one. Plan out your shape with some lines for your triangles or criss-cross shapes, pin on your paper and plonk in your studdies, as before.

Geometric patterns:

Images: As before, also by Toby Hudson for Sunday Times Style Magazine

…And last but not least, my personal favourite, a time-consuming but really fun and ultimately rewarding process, this one requires a little more planning, especially if you’re covering a whole garment, you need to print out your graph paper, draw out your pattern with lines, making sure it’s symmetrical.

Use a marker pen to dot out where to put your studs, on the corner of each of the squares your line pattern covers, pin onto your fabric, then put in and secure your studs.

Secure your studs in place on the inside of your garment by folding the two prongs on either side back on themselves, towards the centre of the stud, one on top of the other, with some long-nosed pliers.

…And, finally, pick your paper off with your unpicker or scalpel, taking extra special care not to damage your garment.

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