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Left: Graphic-print leggings were paired with booties on the Miss Sixty spring runway in New York. Right: Our version was silk-screened by hand at Peach Berserk in Toronto (around $30 through www.peachberserk.com).
Left: Graphic-print leggings were paired with booties on the Miss Sixty spring runway in New York. Right: Our version was silk-screened by hand at Peach Berserk in Toronto (around $30 through www.peachberserk.com).

Knockoff

The look for less: graffiti leggings Add to ...

I was the last girl in the world to embrace leggings. I resisted them the first time around, exiting the 1980s still safely a leggings virgin. And I almost got through the revival that has clung around like the ballet flats worn with them for nigh on six long years now.

My main objection is that they become cheap-looking so fast, the black usually fading to grey after a single wash. And there are just so many legging crimes on display every day that to wear them would be to endorse all the bad lines, all the people reduced to upside-down triangles. There are also TMI offences - overexposed thighs, bouncy butt, chunky ankles.

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But my main objection is personal: In anything but black, I get long vegetable jokes, as in jolly green giant cracks or references to carrot-stick legs. In life, long legs are a blessing and a boon. But in leggings, they fall to caricature.

Something about this picture from the Miss Sixty fall runway makes me smile, though. For one thing, it reminds me that we move on to spring 2010 fashions next week. And two, there is something fresh about them. Sure, graffiti scribbles come back in fabric every couple of years. But there is something playful about black on white.

So I went straight to Toronto's pattern queen, Kingi Carpenter of downtown silk-screening shop Peach Berserk, to tart up some $15 leggings I snagged from the American Apparel outlet next door to her vibrant shop on Queen Street West.

Carpenter shrieked with excitement - her personality is as exuberant as her work - and took time out from sewing her new line of whimsical printed prom dresses to go "totally nineties" on the tights for me.

She charged 30 bucks for the tart-up - commissions vary; get more details at www.peachberserk.com - but you could also go fully DIY and buy her step-by-step book for silk-screening at home.

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