With introduction of an assembly line in early 1900s and its modernization by Henry Ford in 1913, the age of machines has begun. Mass production seemed to be a train to Utopia humanity had been waiting for: more affordable housing, medicines, clothes and food, no more hunger, no bare feet and no more poverty. Despite the fact that these changes led to new psychological and anthropological problems, they had given people hope for a better tomorrow.
Almost a century later, after all the basic physiological needs of many men were satisfied, we started to feel a little irritated seeing a bunch of people wearing the same dress or the same pair of shoes that we did. That feeling meant the era of individualism had already come. And while every “-ism” is often perceived as the root of all evil, to me it’s just another label – another definition to try to describe who we are and what we do.
Today, nothing seems more natural than our desire to differ from others. Progress gave us more time. Time that we willingly spend alone: thinking, reflecting and analyzing. The world has shrunk tremendously for the last couple of decades and now we are losing ourselves in the ocean of facts, faces and names. Times when you were THE John from your small town are over. Places like Facebook make you realize you are just another of millions of Johns who were, are and will be long after you’re gone. Being aware of that, you start to oppose. Full of determination to be yourself and never care of what other people may think, you forget that still somehow we are not meant to be apart. There is a sociological and – the one mentioned by Freud – psychological need of identification. A man has a need to identify himself with a group of people he shares the same views, values, dreams and believes with. All of that lifts up the curtain on the today’s increasing interest in custom-made and limited edition goods, especially clothing.
Nowadays more and more people prefer shopping for custom and limited edition clothes and stay loyal to their favorite brands. A pair of pants, shoes or a Tee is no longer a piece of fabric, but a tool of self expression and identification with a particular lifestyle. Individualism together with the increasing demand on creativity and exclusivity of custom-made goods became an integral part of the post-industrial society.