By Tally Meyers
In a college town with only a few large corporate stores and a slew of over- priced boutiques, expressing individuality at a low price is almost unheard of.
For San Luis Obispo, the Central Coast attracts students from all over the country, all with varying lifestyles and tastes. But living in a town with few shopping options and high prices does not have to cramp your style.
Social media do-it-yourself forums, such as Pinterest, encourage sharing ideas and finding inspiration to create something out of the ordinary, whether it be food or fashion. Users can discover how to make store-quality goods for a low cost.
“I don’t necessarily use the sites to find things in order to save money. It’s more like, I see something that plants an idea in my head and then I snowball off of that,” said Cuesta art major Sienna Berrner, and a self-proclaimed do-it-yourself advocate. Berrner has been inspired to make geometric string art that covers her kitchen walls and front porch. She has also homemade bleach-pen leggings for six of her closest friends costing roughly $30 total and a pair of high-waisted shorts she bought at Goodwill for under $10.
“I think paying $50 for ‘vintage’ shorts is absurd,” Berrner said. “But most of the other things I craft are more for the purpose of having beautiful, intriguing, unique things that surround me and my friends.”
The outlets for creativity and encouragement to be crafty are heavily directed at the female market. For males who do not classify themselves as “crafty,” coming up with ways to save money and stand out can be more of a stretch, but not impossible. Adam Wiesner, a third semester molecular biology major, and Teddy Masters, majoring in psychology, have similar ways to reuse what they already have to save a buck.
“I can cut my own bitchin’ running tank tops,” said Wiesner, who finished the SLO Marathon in just four hours in early April. He cuts his running tops from old work shirts or tattered favorites that have begun to wear down. Masters also shreds his own threads, cutting his old jeans into cut-off shorts during the summertime, and finds being resourceful an easy task.
“I pimped my bike into a grocery mobile. It was super sick,” Masters said about his homemade bike basket, recycled from an old fruit crate tied to his handlebars. He also made his Halloween costume, inspired by his favorite artist SBTRKT (pronounced sub-tract), with cardboard, construction paper and twine he purchased at Berverly’s for about $10.
Feeling confident and being original does not have to be dictated by whether there is a three-story mall within a five-mile radius. Berrner highly encourages taking rare thrift shop finds and re-purposing them to make something one-of- a-kind with the luxury of knowing where they came from.
“When you discover that you can make something completely awesome and original out of something that wasn’t much of any- thing before, you get such a feeling of accomplishment and pride,” Berrner said. “You have something that is 100 percent you, something that wasn’t made by someone in China or Indonesia.”