When the DIY Trend Hits Fashion



Today’s fashion world is a whirl of contradictory trends. Whether it is embracing the latest high concept runway designs from Milan or looking to the kids on the street for fashion hints, there is something for everyone. In the last decade the impact of mass production in every element of our lives has also had a role to play in fashion. While the fashion industry remains one driven by seasonal trends and big house designs, the desire to have a voice of our own is also coming into play. The world of Do It Yourself and the rise of handmade has given fashion a new look, when the purchaser also becomes the creator. Leading this trend is a company that began small in Northern Europe, selling little silver beads and charms direct to consumers. Trollbeads has gone on to become a world leader in the concept of making and designing your own jewelry from unique small batch crafted materials.

The Maker Revolution

It shouldn’t be surprising that when the movement towards DIY began about a decade ago, Trollbeads should be seen as one of the vanguards in the revolution. The overwhelming need for many to move away from boring run of the mill designs in all elements of life was one thing that drove this new movement. Another was the fact that we are now surrounded by premade items that are poorly designed, cheaply made and intended to be obsolete almost as soon as they leave the factory. When jewelry is designed in one country, produced in another by the millions and then sold to us prepackaged, buyers began to revolt. The internet was the perfect place to showcase handmade goods on sites like Etsy and Trollbeads could introduce new designs, and even their designers, on their site. It was the perfect marriage of individual design by craftsmen and the ability of the customer to see and choose bead by bead. Trollbeads may have been ahead of the curve, but they have had no problem keeping up ever since.

Old World Charms

While the story is familiar to many in the world of fashion jewelry, it bears repeating. It began in the heyday of street fashion, the 1970s. Changes were afoot in everything from music to entertainment and fashion. Many of the biggest European fashion designers were taking their inspiration from the colorful and fun fashions the kids were making on their own out on the street. In Denmark, a country known for great designers of bold yet simple lines, a brother and sister teamed up to create a unique idea. In many of the country’s folk tales, trolls played a big role and were part of the national character. When brother Soren Nielsen decided he wanted to make a small silver bead of a troll’s head, and make each one a different character, they were a small but interesting idea he sold in his father’s jewelry shop.

Tribal and Self-Designed

When his sister asked him to design them so she could string them like a bead on a leather thong instead of hanging them as a single pendant, he obliged. The different approach gave the beads a tribal look and the ability of customers to mix and match as they chose gave them a voice in their own jewelry design. Trollbeads were a huge hit. With the increase in demand they decided to open their own shop. They offered a line of character silver beads that allowed their customers to tell stories of their own. An old world character from a folk tale had launched a modern idea for fashion jewelry.

These beads that looked like little trolls began to sell across the continent and soon launched a whole new fashion trend of make your own jewelry. Today the Trollbeads site offers a wide variety of metal and glass beads along with everything you need to make your own bracelet, necklace or earrings. Now customers that began as teens give beads to their kids and grandkids to celebrate everything from birthdays to college graduations. Trollbeads have become a part of their lives.