Created In Partnership With Microsoft Surface

How This Gen Z Creator Made A Career Of Her DIY Fashion Hobby

Pre-pandemic, I had a list of hobbies that I wanted to try one day. From pottery to knitting, they were always there, just waiting for some spare time to magically appear in my schedule. 
Then, Covid hit. In the winter months, nights at the pub huddling with friends under gas heaters were replaced by knitting in front of reality TV. In summer, my mum sent me a pottery kit so I could spend time in my outdoor courtyard rather than pining for a beach catch-up. 
My newfound hobbies became both a lifeline and a lifestyle when the world turned upside down. 
Obviously, I’m not alone. From the balaclava TikTok trend to the Y2k revival of phone charms, it seems many of us are embracing the DIY fashion aesthetic.
One creative who has fully embraced the rise in DIY trends is Tara Chandra. Based in Sydney, the freelance fashion creator is a jack of all trades and a staunch advocate of the new-wave DIY movement.
“I love seeing people transform old pieces of clothing into something new, or reworking pieces to suit their style or fit them better,” Chandra tells Refinery29 Australia.
Like many other Gen Zs, Chandra’s Instagram bio reveals a multi-hyphenate career. From artwork to photography, fashion ‘fits and a second-hand vintage store, Chandra is inspiring her community of 96K Instagram followers to follow their own hobbies and passions. 
“I started my creative ventures where most teens in 2011 started… on Tumblr. It was a huge inspiration for building my style and aesthetic,” Chandra says.
It wasn’t until 2013 when YouTube caught Chandra’s eye and the then 15-year-old began a DIY-specific fashion channel.
“I would film videos every Friday afternoon after school and spend the entire weekend editing. I was also running a blog and later created an Instagram specifically for my ‘fit pics,” she says.
After growing a following over time, the Gen Z creator has patchwork-quilted a creative career together. 
With so many creative side hustles on the go, Chandra shares that it can become difficult to manage. She says, “My creative process is mostly internal, but it can get overwhelming when you have a hundred ideas running through your head.”
To combat this, Chandra says she utilises tools such as the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 to organise her thoughts and edit her DIY content. “I consume a lot of fashion and lifestyle content which definitely sparks inspiration for video editing, ideas, and outfits in general,” she says. 
“Browsing Pinterest on my device has also helped me come up with cool new poses for my photos, fashion inspiration for DIY projects, and new ways of layering clothes. It's been at my side since I got it!” 
With Tara changing her looks up often, it's important for the creator to have a versatile tool as well.
"The Surface Pro 8 is able to go from tablet to laptop, portrait to vertical, emails to art – it changes just as quickly as my outfits and style. Sticking to one look is boring for me."
So, as we get back to a new normal and life begins to speed up once more, will she continue to work on DIY fashion projects? 
“DIY fashion is one of a kind,” says Chandra. “Instead of getting rid of your clothes, you can let them live another life as well as having fun.”
“My favourite thing I've worked on were my Daria jeans I painted a few years ago. They were – and still are – pretty iconic, if I do say so myself.”
With people like Chandra advocating for creative, second-hand and DIY fashion, it seems we should be holding onto those lockdown hobbies. Not to monetise them or gain a following, but to tap into the unbridled creativity we had a glimpse of during the pandemic. 
“Creating is a feeling. It’s a thought and an act, regardless of the medium,” says Chandra. 
I think I’ll keep knitting that balaclava for winter after all. 

More from Fashion