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A custom lapel pin is a small symbol that allows you to wear and express visually your enthusiasm, your emotions and your loyalty for a team, a cause, a country or an idea. It may be SMALL but the story it tells is BIG.While the American flag worn by presidents may be the most visible custom lapel pin, lapel pins reach into all walks of life. They are a visual means of expressing our emotions, beliefs, values, passions, interests, memories, causes and unity. Lapel pins are intriguing icons recognizable in many cultures across the world today.Why are they made to look the way they do? Where did this tradition originate? All good questions.For some, lapel pins are merely a way of sporting one’s own design just for the sake of expression; however, their long tradition of use has more symbolic roots that date back to medieval times when people would wear brooches featuring the colors and symbols of their king’s house or country. They were forms of identification.
In more modern times, around the time of the culture wars of the ‘60s and ‘70s, the flag lapel pin became both a symbol of solidarity and patriotism. However, it was Richard Nixon who made this symbol even more famous. According to Stephen E. Ambrose's biography, Nixon, the idea to routinely sport the American Flag lapel pin came from White House chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman, who saw a similar gesture in Robert Redford’s film The Candidate. From then on, all Nixon’s staff were instructed to do the same.Flag lapel pins have remained a constant in American politics to this day, with other kinds of lapel pins appearing in the political spheres of countries all over the world at the same time.
So, who else wears lapel pins today? A better question is who doesn’t? Lapel pins aren’t just stuck on the lapel of a suit anymore; they’re worn on hats, bags, shirts and other clothing, and of course the lapel too. Because they are displayed anywhere, on anything, for any reason you find lapel pins in every kind of market, industry, family, corporation, organization, club, team, or group.Today, people use lapel pins to recognize, to promote, to educate, to bring awareness, to unify, to trade, and simply to express themselves.Corporations use lapel pins to mark milestones and accomplishments. Sales people give them away as promotion at conferences and tradeshows. Millennials wear them to express their opinions, moods and political positions. Students participating in competition groups trade them to meet people from all over the world. Little league baseball teams trade them at their tournaments. Sports fans wear them to show loyalty for their favorite team. Churches use them to spread the word. Fraternities and sororities identify with lapel pins. Couples give them away as party favors at their weddings. Political candidates wear them to show patriotism or party affiliation. Festival goers collect them to identify concerts attended. NASA produces them to commemorate space missions.
Despite the variety of users and uses of lapel pins one thing is consistent, they remind us of our stories, our experiences, our emotions and our connections. And that is why people love pins. Each lapel pin may be SMALL but the story it tells is BIG!