Civil War Belt Buckle,
York, England. 17th Century AD Customisation
The common buckle that is still in use today is first known to have been used by Roman soldiers to strap their armour together. From this very practical military purpose the Roman buckle then evolved into an item of more decorative purpose. The buckle on display here shares its origins with the legacy of Roman soldiers and was probably once well used by a participant of the English Civil War, who at one point would have found himself in York where this buckle was later found.
Customisation at its most pragmatic level is an attribute of fitting. That we require clothes to fit us beyond their original cuts and dimensions is a universal need. We can now extend the notion of customisation far beyond the fitting of garments, however. Customisation and personalisation is predicted to soon become a macro-trend in consumable products and technology.
Observing the recent launch of the Apple Watch, we can see an early example of the potential for mass customisation. The Apple Watch, as a consumable technology, had no pre-packaged off-the-shelf state when first presented to the public; instead consumers were presented with a series of variations in watch specification, casing, strap and accessories. This allowed, or indeed forced, consumers to customise their new purchase to a far greater degree than any other Apple product that preceded it. Unlike other Apple product you don't buy an Apple Watch, you choose it.
We now might expect the choices we are given when consuming goods in the future to become subject to a dizzying range of customised options, maybe not only in technical specification, material and colour but perhaps also in gender orientation, mental model references or preferred belief systems.