June 23, 2011

Remembering ReadyMade

I just heard the news yesterday from my friends at Poketo that ReadyMade is closing shop. They made the announcement last week but the news has been slowly spreading amongst the DIY community. It was a big shocker to all of us, but the thought of it wasn't a complete surprise. Like many publications, they struggled to stay alive in this digital age where blogs/digital periodicals reign supreme. I felt a great sadness when I heard the news because I felt that ReadyMade played an important role in the making me the designer/creator/maker that I am today.

I remember when I first heard of ReadyMade, I was in high school and wanted to launch my own apparel company with my bff, Nisa. We had this brilliant idea to create our own polo shirt brand to sit amongst the ranks of Lacoste, LeTigre, Penguin, etc. That's what we wore back then: Lacoste or LeTigre polo shirts that we got off eBay with a Member's Only jacket, boot cut jeans, and a pair of Chucks (but only the ones made in the USA. aka pre-Nike acquisition). We thought that the whole silkscreened t-shirt company run out of one of our garages thing would be the more typical and expected thing to do. Which was why we didn't want to do that. Yeah, we thought we were too cool. But we would never openly admit it. Although we never took that jump into apparel, ReadyMade inspired us  that we could really make/build anything.

The first time I saw ReadyMade's website it was only made up of maybe 2 or 3 pages. They had an online store where you can buy one issue, 5 issues, a subscription, or various DIY kits. I even remember when Poketo made wallets out of ReadyMade. This was back when some of their first wallets were made of scantrons and measuring tape. One of the first projects I ever made shortly after discovering ReadyMade was a wallet made of old magazines and packing tape. I admired Poketo's wallets, but I was young & broke. It was very similar to this project which can be found on ReadyMade's website today. I called it the "I'm not a slut." wallet. I had used pages from a crappy teen magazine that I had lying around from junior high. I tore out a page with an article about teen body image and that was the headline. Looking back on it now, I only had those magazines to fit in with the rest of the girls. But moving on to high school, I had ditched those bitches and found a group of friends who shared my interests (the kind of girls who read Giant Robot and Juxtapoz). That wallet came out pretty cheesy. And I never used it as a wallet. At least not in public.

What I loved the most about ReadyMade was that it showed you how to do everything from something as simple as stenciling a rodeo cowboy onto a pillow to building a printing press with a hydraulic press. No project ever seemed too outrageous. And the best part was that they listed what exactly what you would need, what skills you would need, difficulty level, time it would take, and approximately how much it would cost you. Everything I ever needed to know before jumping into a project!

I love you ReadyMade! Thanks for making us want to build things! And not because they were things we needed, but because they were just really cool things to make!

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