If those who buy Prada shoes are already a niche, it's now possible to add even more exclusivity. In August, the Italian brand plans to launch a customisation service for its classic brogues. With 32 colours available, across the uppers and trademark foam soles, your own personal Prada shoes – complete with monogrammed initials on the bottom – are, with a payment of around £740 and wait of 60 days, within your sights.
Such an idea allows consumers to play designer – with all of those colours, it's kind of like Dulux cards for fashion. It's one that chimes with our need to regularly tweak everything from the background of our Twitter page to the milk-to-shot ratio in our morning coffee.
Customisation like this is big news in luxury fashion – it's a sort-of return to the tradition of bespoke. Louis Vuitton launched its personalised Mon Monogram service in 2010, while Hermès created Custom Silk Corner the following year – a service that allows you to make your own version of its scarves. Anya Hindmarch and Smythson also provide bespoke across leather goods and stationery. As if to prove its success in the luxury sector, Harrods is hosting an instore bespoke event right now. Called "Made with Love" and dedicated to customisation, the event provides a platform for brands ranging from Gucci to La Perla to offer their bespoke services.
There may be a slight problem emerging for these luxury brands, however – the high street is getting in on the act. Nike ID, a service where trainers are made to your specifications, has been a big success – it works perfectly in the trainer world, where rarity is highly prized. More recently, monogramming services have made their way to both Topshop and Whistles, while Ugg's upcoming By You service means those inclined to do so can create their own version of the classic boot. The next stage appears to go from customisation to DIY. The Yr digital printing machines in Topshop and Topman let you cover T-shirts in whatever lolcat you desire; 3D printing instore, to create accessories to your specifications, can't be far behind.
Does all of this devalue the likes of Prada? Probably not. The reality is that these two trends are talking to two different sets of consumers. The luxury customer appreciates the craft and exclusivity that comes with having something just for them, while the high-street shopper – probably younger, and on Instagram – takes the DIY thing for granted. Everyone's happy – especially, let's be honest, the person with the custom-made Prada brogues on their feet.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010