I have a bee in my bonnet. It’s about the buzz word ‘bespoke’.
As a self-proclaimed bespoke wordsmith I declare a vested interest. Perhaps my eyes and ears are more open to it, but I do seem to have noticed a rise in the bespeaking of bespoke.
In recent weeks I’ve seen bespoke used to describe flooring, career coaching and handmade yet off-the-shelf lifestyle goods.
I’m probably being a bit brand defensive. But for me bespoke is all about specially crafting something that is tailored to fit.
I’m not claiming usage rights on the word bespoke. I would just prefer its meaning not to be diluted by over- or misuse.
I’m quite okay with Eleanor Catton’s smatterings of bespoke in its other context. But a template design fitted to your kitchen floor doesn’t quite cut the bespoke mustard.
All of this has me pondering why the use of bespoke is becoming more prominent.
I suspect it’s like the rise of farmers' and craft markets. People are hankering for things that are authentic and unique; quality alternatives from the ready-made, factory produced mainstream.
We crave connection with who, how and where things are made.
Identifying as bespoke, and being seen to create tailored items from scratch has become a point of difference.
Purchasing bespoke goods or services is a distinctive choice. It also taps individualism, with a desire to have things made just for me.
In my work I help people to tell their story and tout their wares. Writing job applications and media releases I’ve come to observe that despite an apparent rise in narcissism, most folks slot into a communication gap between hubris and humility.
It can be a challenge to find the right words with real meaning to express who you are and what you do.
We’re saturated with media tools to shout out stuff. Yet we’re not always confident or capable to express who we uniquely are. We want to plug ourselves without presenting as egomaniacal. We want to be distinctive but not go too far against the grain.
My anecdotal gripe is that bespoke seems to be the latest latch onto descriptor. I’m not exactly telling fellow bespokers to buzz off. But if too many assume the title, bespoke risks becoming different but same, same.
And I like to think I’m different.