Today I have invited the talented and creative power-house Beki Gowing to the blog to talk about the trend for personalisation in everything from art and craft to design and fashion.
Beki is a printed textile designer, and founder of the digital fabric printing company Print & Press, London. She has worked with John Lewis, the Royal College of Art, the V&A, WGSN and Jigsaw, and is the founder of the Grown Ups’ Art Club.
Over to you Beki…
Is Personalisation More Than A Trend?
“Would you like to add a personalised message inside your card?” Etsy asks me.
That simple question has made my mundane purchase seem really exciting. My quite pretty but fairly average card will now have a unique calligraphy message inside, making it seem so much more thoughtful (and of course giving me, the gift giver, extra kudos).
That feeling of excitement and specialness has lead retailers and brands around the globe to leap onto the personalisation trend, searching for increasingly inventive ways to allow customers to customise their purchases. Monogrammed purses, embroidered t-shirts, choosing the exact colour of your new scarf; these are all examples of the personalisation trend that has become mainstream and shows no sign of disappearing.
As the fashion seasons have sped up, and most brands no longer release two annual collections, but upwards of six collections every year, many customers feel they are drowning in a sea of newness and latest trends. It’s impossible to keep up to date with what’s hot, and we feel apathetic, as the latest ‘must have’ looks suspiciously like the top trend from two years ago.
We crave something that makes us feel special and unique, something that is just for us…
We crave something that makes us feel special and unique, something that is just for us, and we know won’t be seen on three other people at work next week. There has been a shift in our desires from ‘having to being’. Owning the latest accessory isn’t enough, we want to be part of the story, experience the process, and have an input in how our belongings look and feel.
Monogrammed belongings have long been associated with luxury and high-value items, and brands like Burburry are using this to add extra personality to their already luxury products through their Monogramming Experience service. If Burberry prices are a bit too high, products like the personalised floral alphabet prints by Georgie are the perfect example of unique but affordable luxury.
Technology has enabled customisation to become more accessible, with products like 3D printers and digital fabric printers opening the doors for brands and designers to customise their designs for every customer. Shapeways is an online brand that brings together jewellers using 3D printing to create bespoke designs. Their marketplace lists thousands of unique shapes, which can all be personalised and made to fit the unique customer needs.
My own company Print & Press, London is also part of the personalisation trend, as our eco-friendly digital fabric printer allows customers to send in any images, photos or designs, and receive them in the post as custom digitally printed fabric, which can be used to create unique garments, cushions, bags, and wall art.
Customisation is also encouraging a revival in traditional skills like tailoring, as customers are learning that they can adapt their clothes to fit them, and no longer have to accept standardised off the peg sizes. Brands like Levis have capitalised on this, opening ‘Tailor Shops’ in a number of international locations.
Why Personalisation Is Here To Stay
Although there may come a time when we no longer want to see our initials on all of our belongings, or perhaps prefer the simplicity of just selecting a product off a shelf, I believe the personalisation trend has changed how customers see and value products. Now we know that we can make a product perfectly suited to what we want, why would we choose to go back to ill-fitting clothes, designs that don’t suit our personal style, or giving gifts that aren’t thoughtful and personal.
If anything, as technology progresses, it’s likely that personalisation will develop further, and instead of simply customising, more products will be fully created according to our exact requirements. I found personalised calligraphy exciting, I can’t wait to see what’s next!
Thank you Beki! If you want to find out more about Print and Press, London and their services, do pop over to their website and social media profiles Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest. There are some great resources on the blog for creatives with designer interviews, inspiration posts and tips for running your own creative venture.
Have an inspired day
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