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The Ribbon Tale

Used primarily for binding and tying, ribbons are thin bands of flexible materials, preferably made out of cloths, but also plastic, which people use to wrap presents or create hand-made projects. Commonly used to embellish garments, and hair, or as ornaments on objects, ribbons have become a famous material for fashion as well as for decoration purposes.

Once affordable only by nobles, ribbons today are available in a variety of different colors, designs, textures and sizes to accommodate any need. Conveying a special meaning and symbolically significant, ribbons have been around for centuries nurturing the human aesthetic sense of beauty and elegance. Ribbon-weaving is known to have been established near St. Etienne as early as the 11th century, making that town the headquarters of the ribbon industry in its infancy.

The introduction of the jacquard loom around 1815, which produced floral and pictorial ribbons, allowed the expansion and the use of ribbons to new publics. In fact, during the 17th and 18th centuries, ribbons were used as a fashion embellishment both by men and women. Dresses, collars, hats, shoes, as well as numerous other fashion accessories, were trimmed with ribbons that took the form of rosettes and cockades. Produced in various colors, famously preferred in red, gold, white, and blue, ribbons were worn to represent nobility. France and then England embraced the ribbons use as an embellishment fashion accessory, while the ribbon roses, for instance, have become very popular during the Victorian times and even before.

Today, ribbons are used much the same way as before, but also in a number of new ways as new fashion and gadget accessories called for their beauty and flexible form. Belts, hats, shoes, clothes, books, mobile phones, high-tech gadgets, lamps, pillows, beddings, sofa covers, walls, furniture and a plethora of other objects are decorated with colorful ribbons that alter their look and feel. Moreover, ribbons are today worn as statement symbols, signifying hope, support, agreement, disapproval or effort. Examples of famous ribbons are the Yellow Ribbon of Hope or the Red Ribbon in support of HIV/AIDS victims and their caretakers.

Ribbons have traveled from Asia to Europe and from their American colonies to peoples homes worldwide, changing not only a garment’s or accessory’s appearance, but also people ideas and interests. Ribbons have become much more than a simple embellishment; they have come to represent both a cause and a passion. Perhaps finding new ways to use ribbons is only a matter of inspiration and time.

About the Author: John Gibb is the owner of ribbon resources
, For more information on ribbons check out

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