Patches have an interesting history. As far back as ancient Rome and Greece, people were collecting and wearing patches. Early Christianity pilgrims used patches to designate visits to holy sites. But it was not until 1941 that George de Mestral developed Velcro that patches were easily attached and removed.
Because of this loop and hook technology, custom velcro patches became a boon to the clothing industry, especially uniforms. Because velcro patches can be easily removed, laundry day is a breeze with no fading or curling of the patches. Because they are so easy to reapply, patches can be changed easily. For example if a uniform needs to be borrowed, no problem. The identification patches can be changed out quickly, rather than the hassle of sewing on different emblems.
Each patch has a history and tells a story about the individual wearing the patch. In the military, every patch is unique depending on the division or rank of the individual. For those in combat and find themselves in hostile enemy territory, it is definitely an advantage to easily remove the identifying patches and dispose of them if a capture appears inevitable; therefore, giving the wearer some level of protection from enemy forces.
Other than the military, almost every occupation that is uniformed such as police, firemen, guards, etc., utilizes custom velcro and pvc patches to designate their affiliation. Custom patches are used by almost every imaginable product on the market. There is no end to the application of this amazing product.