Designing Individualism

Our group found that there is a large market for consumers looking to express their identity without becoming brand-centric. While there are many companies that offer a personalized touch or individual design, most lack a truly unique expression of oneself. Consumers struggle to find a balance between personal comfort and distinction. We believe the solution to this complication is to put the creation of the product into the customer’s hands. Our idea is to create a business, which will act as a middleman between self-expression and quality tools to do-it-yourself. Below you will find the results our brainstorming:

Starstrukk | Additional Research

2, ديسمبر 2010

Our field research gave us an idea of consumer’s needs to express their individualism and some qualities they look for when shopping. To expand our understanding of this market we must analyze merchants who have already ventured into mass customization. We strived to grasp the pros and cons of each business model and began to brainstorm how they could be improved.

NIKEiD is the most well-known online service offered for customization of Nike products, primarily shoes, and was launched in 1999. Over the years it has expanded tremendously, allowing customers to choose the colors and even fabrics used to produce their own Nike shoes in various styles. You can even add logos and lettering then store your design in personal online locker. In 2007, the company began to introduce NIKEiD studios to give consumers a unique design experience, which includes design consultants.

Threadless is essentially an online t-shirt community. Users are asked to submit designs for scoring by the community and every week the winning designs go into print. There is truly an incentive for good design because if yours gets printed you’ll receive $2000 in cash and a $500 gift card. In addition, if your design wins a bestee award or is reprinted you are rewarded once again. The site is always full of one-of-a-kind individual designs.

Bang-On is both an online and retail custom t-shirt store. We actually have one located here in Little Five Points. The service allows you to go into the store, choose a design from a massive flip-book, choose your t-shirt color, and watch it get pressed while you wait. This is similar to the NIKEiD studios, but you have the ability to walk out with your product, which is not yet feasible with shoes.

Takeaways: Each model has several qualities that we collectively liked or disliked. NIKEiD allows you to add lettering to most shoes, making it truly individual. Unfortunately others can also buy your design though and there is no way to get rid of that infamous swoosh, which is great for “sneakerheads,” but not us. Threadless is extremely clever because their designs are chosen by their consumers, meaning there is a market before the shirt before it even goes into print. The downside to this is that although the design is individual, it will be mass-produced. Bang-On appears to be the best option for custom t-shirts, but the options are limited and the price is undesirable.

Starstrukk | Elevator Pitch

21, نوفمبر 2010
  1. For any individual who is tired of being formed by the world
  2. Who are dissatisfied with: always running into someone wearing the same shirt/jacket as you, and not being able to find clothes that “define” you/ your taste.
  3. Our innovation offering is to provide customers with clothing that can commercialize individualism in a large scale market.
  4. We are providing a solution by enabling costumers a low cost opportunity to customize their clothing.
  5. Our idea is different from that of other companies such as NIKE iD, HatShack, and other customizing clothing stores because we provide our clothing at an affordable cost.
  6. Our innovation can help create a larger demand for customized clothing by making it affordable due to the simplicity of having different templates, designs, and clothing for our customers to choose from rather than having to change the whole product design from the beginning.

Starstrukk | Field Research

20, نوفمبر 2010

To determine how to design individualism we must first understand what individualism is in the eye of the consumer. To do this we created a list of questions that we thought would provoke the desired answers and headed to Lenox Square to ask around. The following is our list of questions and answers we received:


  1. What is individuality to you?
  2. Is there one object that is usually on you that expresses who you are?
  3. When shopping, what is it that you look for to define your identity?
  4. Where do you shop?
  5. Are you attracted to merchandise with brand logos or graphics on them?



  1. Finding things in the own world and making them your own.
  2. The iPhone, it shows that I am modern, trendy, and like to keep up with technology.
  3. Clean, basic clothes that can be pieced together to create a unique look.
  4. Online, better deals and selection.
  5. No, I prefer a minimal amount.


  1. Wearing clothes that express your personality, what you represents, and opinions.
  2. My phone, it has an Ed Hardy skin and a personal symbol that I designed on it.
  3. Favorite colors  or sayings that I can relate to.
  4. Ed Hardy or Macy’s
  5. Yes.


  1. Finding clothes that are unique and trendsetting.
  2. I typically wear shirts that are bedazzled.
  3. Distinctive clothing that not everyone has.
  4. Zara (located away from the crowd), H&M, or online.
  5. Not necessarily, it has to be unique and fit well.


  1. Wearing whatever you like.
  2. I typically like to wear I sweater with my outfit.
  3. Comfort, but cute.
  4. Urban outfitters
  5. Not particularly.


  1. Something that no one has done before, stepping outside the box, but staying politically correct.
  2. I like to be the main event. I don’t highlight one particular aspect of my look, but the entire look as a whole.
  3. I look for something that no one else will wear.
  4. Everywhere. Garage sales, thrift store, department stores, high-end stores.
  5. I used to be attracted to brand names, but not anymore.


  1. Being able to do your own thing in spite of what everyone else is doing.
  2. My tattoos.
  3. I typically look for comfort.
  4. Express, Kenneth Cole, and Pac Sun.
  5. I prefer no logos.


  1. I can’t put it in words.
  2. I like to be comfortable within the crowd.
  3. An urban look, but not hip-hop. Stuff that fits.
  4. Diesel, American Apparel, and Urban Outfitters.
  5. No brand logos, but I do like graphics.


  1. Dressing the way you want.
  2. I usually carry a bag that expresses me.
  3. Clothing that is comfortable, yet affordable.
  4. J Crew, Forever 21, and Anthropology.
  5. Nope.


  1. The ability to take small pieces and compliment them to create an appearance that is informative, yet mysterious.
  2. A handkerchief, it tells a story to me.
  3. Confidence boosters. It doesn’t matter if you’re almost naked as long as you are confident wearing it.
  4. Mainly online.
  5. No.

Takeaways: It is important for individuals to establish an identity through a unique style without setting themselves entirely apart from the crowd. There is a certain level of comfort in which each person chooses to step out in. Some individuals identify themselves with a brand, some wear the clothes others don’t dare to wear, but the vast majority seems to be searching for clothes that they can confidently wear without being labeled with a brand logo.


11, نوفمبر 2010
  • John Hamilton
  • David Hotard
  • Jeff Gazaway

Topic: Consumerism