Ribbon facts – the history of ribbons

Ribbons are useful, generally decorative pieces of fabric that come in various sizes, colors, textures and forms. Currently, a ribbon can serve multiple purposes such as Christmas decoration, fashion accessory, gifts wrapping, wedding decoration, hair accessory and so on, not to mention the awareness raising campaigns that involve people wearing ribbons of various colors to support a cause. This multitude of applications and the high demand have determined an increase in offer as well. Modern ribbons are mass produced in any kind of fabric you can imagine from velvet to nylon. When it comes to ribbon shopping, there are plenty of options and alternatives on the market. The most popular choice right now is online shopping that allows people purchase ribbons of great diversity from the comfort of their home. For instance, you can find ribbons at Colour-Ribbons.co.uk for every occasion, including bows that are printed with happy birthday wishes. In the past, although in wide variety, ribbons were less likely to be unique, as the access to fabric was limited.

The history of ribbons dates back to the time when people started crafting fabrics. As one of the oldest adorning materials, we can assume that our ancestors have also found them extremely useful around the house. The purpose of ribbons has not changed much since the moment of their inception; they are still used as an ingenious and affordable method of personalizing clothing, gifts and household goods. Of course, in the beginning, humans did not have the convenient means of the modern times to manufacture ribbons, so everything from the textile to the bow was handmade. The finer and more delicate the material used, the more expensive and valuable the ribbon. Considering the time needed to create fine fabrics in the past, it is not surprising that only the upper class afforded ribbon made from the finest threads. The first mention of ribbons in literature appears in the Chaucer’s tales. According to him, peddlers selling exotic ribbons travelled around the Europe during the Middle Age making quite a lot of profit. During the Medieval and Renaissance periods, patrons started to use ribbons made in gold and silver thread. What is more, silk brought from Orient started to become one of the most favorite ribbon fabrics. A quick look at the Silk Road history page can give you an idea about the fortunes you needed in order to purchase a ribbon woven in silk and gold.


The modern ribbon with is finished edges were created in the sixteen, when they were still identified with luxury and riches. During the same period, the English Parliament even tried to make ribbons exclusively noble accessories and the seventeenth century has brought a ribbon invasion in the fashion world. Extravagant clothing with ribbons placed everywhere from gloves to dresses and bonnets. Ribbons were not only adorning clothes and braiding curling hair, but also to decorate household items.