As more of us are cultivating an image of being personal brands and thereby seeking ways to standout, seeing our names on our personal possessions beyond official sources of identification has become attractive to us.

And no, I also don't mean in the way we had our names sellotaped on everything during our playground days - pens, rulers, scissors and school shirts. We want to be subtle about the way we make this statement now. 

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This is done mostly in the form of initials or just a first name. 

For example, I have an Old Khaki moleskin notebook with the letters "ALJ" embossed on it in gold - those are my initials.

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A.L.J ????

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I also have a Typo metal phone ring with the letter "J" on it for my surname (there were no more "A" rings available). I then bought a Poetry tan leather phone cover with the intention of getting "ALJ" monogrammed on that too because Victoria Beckham and Mon Purse taught me.

Like Mon Purse above, Leathorology also offers handbag/phone case/luggage customisation services and one of their top-selling items is the monogrammed Belmont tote loved by celebrities and their fans.

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Adidas, Nike and Levi's have also been doing merchandise customisation for years now, where shoppers can modify colourways on various sneaker styles and add their initials or birth dates too. 

For example, I did a quick iD customisation of the Nike Classic Cortez:

customisation trend

If I check this pair out my cart, it will cost me R1679,95, which is a pretty decent investment for a bespoke Nike product that only I will own. And yes, I added my initials on the tongue.

Brazilian flip-flop brand Havaianas, which is loved for its eccentric colourful designs (such as the pair below) also once opened a 'Make Your Own' pop-up in South Africa circa 2013 and the service is still available on their Australian website.

Our favourite always en vogue fast fashion retailer Zara, will also soon be cashing in on this trend with their denims.

According to Business of Fashion, Zara will be launching a "service to embroider names onto denim clothing in Europe this month."

"Pop-up customisation corners in three Zara stores in Amsterdam, Barcelona and Milan will embroider words on 13 different denim designs from a €19.95 (R326) pair of shorts to a €39.95 (R650) jacket from March 27," they reported.

The customisation will be offered online - like Adidas, Nike and Louis Vuitton - where customers will have the option of either picking up in-store or waiting for delivery.

BoF adds that "customisation ranges from smaller adaptations such as embroidery in-store to products designed almost totally by the customer like Adidas's 'Knit for You' pop-up stores that create bespoke sweaters in a matter of hours." 

When Tshepo The JeanMaker launched his denim collection, South Africans prematurely remarked that they would never wear another person's name on their clothing, perhaps not yet realising how fast the 'names on things' trend would take flight.

While Tshepo's jeans aren't made with other people's names on them, I have good word from one of his clients that the experience is very much personalised, similar to the personal shopper experience Topshop once offered here in SA.

Zara has not indicated that their customisation service will be available in South Africa, but I guess in the meantime we can all enjoy local Sunday flea-markets where we can get our small items monogrammed. 

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