A few decades ago, anything associated with having an item custom made meant that one was rich. Some women did it with designer bags where they chose the material, the print, the design, and the color. It cost a lot of money and the only ones who were seen doing it were celebrities. For men, custom cars were the thing. Some men liked the idea of a classy car created laboriously for months, with seats covered in fine leather. Some liked doing it themselves and bought expensive speakers and the fastest engines.
Nowadays, custom-made items are not an alien concept to the masses anymore. Companies do it for their employees, various groups do it for their movement, and even teenagers could do it. One must only go to their local mall and look for a stall that makes custom mugs, shirts, posters, and neck lanyards. But it does not stop there – what was once a business transaction solely done personally can now be done online.
Progress really is a marvelous thing. Consider the neck lanyards as an example. A hundred years ago, there was not even such a thing as a neck lanyard, only strings that can hold items. Decades ago, it was associated with pistols and cavalry men. In today’s era, it is associated with a number of things like identification, electronics, safety, and utility. In today’s manufacturing evolution, customers can choose the material for their neck lanyard, the design, and the quantity. It can be done at the click of a button. Students no longer have to meet up with their friends during the weekend to create a design that they have been meaning to do for their school festival. They no longer have to gather their classmates and collect funds arduously. Oh, how technology has progressed.
How did custom-made neck lanyards come to be? How did custom-making itself appear? The idea itself is not strange; it also was not something solely European. In Japan, kimonos had to be ordered weeks before. The customer will give money and the kimono maker will sew it attentively for weeks or months. A kimono is expensive – even today it still costs thousands of dollars. In Europe, women had dresses sewn and shoes custom made too. It was especially a trend for rich women. Roughly two hundred years ago, the Industrial Revolution happened. It was a time where production transitioned into being machine-driven. It started in England, spread across Europe, and paved its way across the ocean and into America. The effects of the Industrial Revolution can still be felt today. Everything is done en masse; every product is done faster and with more accuracy that only a machine can offer. It had its merits and bad sides. It also made the concept of having something custom made by hand absurd and expensive. When a resurgence of custom made items began in the early 20th century, it really only catered to the rich. Customization was associated with meticulously done items, labored through hand, with an artisan feel – a thing that some say could never be gotten through automation.
But the progress of technology has enabled humanity to open the doors of custom-making and accept the masses that also want something like it. In the case of neck lanyards, some people like specific lengths, while some like it thin rather than the usual one inch neck lanyard. Other people want to incorporate their own design. Technology gave lanyards an artisan feel while also giving the benefits of fast-paced mass production. A customer can get his own custom made neck lanyard by the hundreds. Manufacturing has really progressed – from artisan, machine, and then machine-made with an artisan touch.