Ribbons are a fantastic way of embellishing just about anything. We see them everywhere: dresses, underwear, packaging, Christmas trees, decorations, wedding bouquets, in hair… In fact, pick any home in the Western world, and many in developing countries too, and you’re sure to find a ribbon in there somewhere! But, from where does the ribbon originate? How did they become so commonly used?
The humble ribbon has existed for centuries. Actually, it has existed for millennia. Ribbons have been traced as far back as the Neolithic period when people wove dense, narrow fabric strips on looms that were portable. Impressions of these weave bands have been dated to 6000 B.C. It is thought that these ribbons were primarily functional rather than decorative, although some sources suggest that they had a decorative side too.
One thing is for sure, ribbons used to just be for the rich and were often given as gifts. Some believed that ribbons brought good fortune too. Of course, back in those days, one could not just visit a ribbon store online or pop to a ribbon shop. These days, there are so many options available for getting hold of those precious and beautiful silky lengths.
These days, ribbons are largely decorative. People use them for all sorts of projects. They are still a common hair accessory globally with literally hundreds of designs and fabric types available to dress hair for all sorts of occasions. As well as in hair, ribbons adorn clothing. Quite often, little girls’ clothes, in particular, have ribbon embellishments in bows or ripples and decorative edging on dresses.
Additionally, ribbons have long since appeared for the medals of soldiers or others that have received honors. Indeed, the Oxford English Dictionary states that ribbons for this purpose existed in at least the 16th century, if not before, with the Great British Order of the Garter. Ribbons still appear today on the honors medals that worthy people receive on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II. Other countries use ribbons in similar ways too.
Many crafts people also use ribbons in their projects. They feature in weaving, artwork, scrapbooking, sewing, toy making and a whole host of other craft projects. The wide variety of ribbons ensures that there is always a ribbon that is suitable for pretty much any project.
Ribbon exists in so many different types and from so many different materials and fabrics. Doing a simple ribbon online search will bring up hundreds, if not thousands, of results. Some examples of ribbons include taffeta ribbons, satin ribbons, ribbons with picot edging, grosgrain ribbons, sheer or shimmery ribbons, tulle ribbons, brocade ribbons, chenille or velvet ribbons, ribbons made from silk, curling ribbon, metallic ribbon, burlap ribbon, and acetate ribbons. Phew! That’s a lot of ribbons and it is certainly not an exhaustive list.
As mentioned above, it is only recently that people have so many ribbon purchasing options available. When ribbons became popular originally, people crafted them to sell in person or at markets. Ribbon traders were also a thing! Today, there are hundreds of stores online and in our towns and cities. However, where a ribbon shop might once have been a frequent sight of the high street, today more people are likely to buy their ribbon online on a ribbon website or ribbon store online. A quick “ribbon website” Google search brings up lots of results and, depending on your location, you can find one in seconds.
One such ribbon online store is The Ribbon Resource, which ships ribbon worldwide and even has a ribbon finder tool. Another ribbon website is Simply Ribbons, based in the UK. They bring ribbon of the highest quality from manufacturers from the UK and Europe to the masses but at trade prices. They stock over 40,000 ribbon reels in their warehouse!
Ribbons are also synonymous with quality as many companies have realized and therefore include a ribbon in their design and branding. One such example is the Red Ribbon online store, which is actually a bakery. The Red Ribbon online store started in 1979 as a hobby in Quezon City. Eventually, the branding came from the fact the family started to wrap family orders in the red ribbon when sharing their bakes with others.
Most of us also know of Tiffany’s, the famous duck-egg blue boxes wrapped with a luxurious ribbon. A ribbon is certainly a market of luxury here. Even though this is a large-scale business, many smaller businesses use ribbon to signify their brand too. Many companies buy branded ribbon, especially for their product packaging. Not many of these businesses would ever go to a dedicated ribbon shop. Moreover, they would use one of the many wholesale ribbon suppliers, a ribbon store online or, indeed, design their own ribbon with a manufacturer.
Ribbons are everywhere. Next time you are out and about, why not have a little count up of how many you come across within a certain time-frame or whilst walking through a shopping mall? Things have certainly progressed from the days centuries ago when ribbons were for the rich. I bet most of us have got a fair few ribbons somewhere in our homes.
Ribbons could be set for a comeback and a flourish to thanks to their reputation for luxury. Reputable brands to this day still use ribbons to signify class such as the Red Ribbon online store. Many of us will go out and buy ribbons this week. There are so many to choose from that many people go wild with their choices and choose a selection. Will your next purchase be a nice purple taffeta? A green silk? Burlap ribbon for a craft project? How about a nice gingham? A luxurious velvet? Or, what about a branded or printed ribbon for your business? The truth is, anyone of us could spend hours looking at, and eventually buying, different ribbons. We all have our favorites! What is yours?