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Every day a constant stream of information bombards us. While we try to strike balance between our online and offline personas, an overwhelming theme is emerging: We lack personal expression and intimacy. Being part of a social community helps us feel important as individuals who are capable of genuine connections, and the recent revival of small, custom-made accessories is a prime example of just that.

One year ago, enamel lapel pins made a prominent appearance in menswear during New York’s Fashion Week, sparking the cultural comeback that inspired artists and collectors globally. Instagram is to thank for the explosion of popularity across the Web. The low overhead and accessibility of supply manufacturers make this medium especially appealing to budding artists and amateurs alike, allowing anyone to start their own curated collection or trade with other enthusiasts for limited-edition symbolic jewelry.

As a business platform, enamel pins are a good entry product for many small startup companies to cultivate into successful online or physical storefronts selling everything from patches and stickers to clothing displaying their own novel artwork. Such simple products allow a fast turnaround. Consequently, these small pieces of expression can quickly sell out, creating a frenzy of interest in reissued designs, which then leads to collaborations and even more publicity. Pins were once reserved for making a political statement, honoring time served in the armed services or marking years devoted to a corporate business, but the subject matter has evolved to include all realms of pop culture.

Whether it’s a small depiction of your favorite food, a tiny portrait of a well-known movie character or a phrase proclaiming your beliefs, pins are now integral tools for transitioning art off a page and into the physical world.

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