Pet Rocks, Milky/Gel Pens, Furbies, Slap Bracelets, Pokémon Cards. What do they all have in common? They are fads of course, and they have been joined by a new one: Silly Bandz.
If you don’t know by now, Silly Bandz are a colorful brand of silicone rubber bands formed into shapes such as animals, objects and letters and are worn as bracelets. They’re cheap, simple and surprisingly popular. What began as a popular accessory for kids in the southern United States soon became a phenomenon of epic proportions.
Second-year undeclared student Mayreline Feliz had similar opinions.
“I like to have various bracelets on my wrist. It’s sort of a comfort thing. Also I like the fact that a rubber band can turn into a sea horse, a star or phrases like ‘LOL.’”
Schools began cracking down once Silly Bandz became trendy, citing the colorful shaped rubber bands as causing distractions in the classroom, as well as causing various fights to break out among students over coveted rare shapes. Concerns over injuries sustained on children’s arms from the long term wearing of Silly Bandz have also come up. Clearly this kiddie craze is in need of attention.
But now, the Silly Bandz craze has jumped the age gap, finding fans even at the college level, and the State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz is no exception. Second-year graphic design major Kristin Scheff is one such fan of Silly Bandz.
“I like Silly Bandz because they have my favorite animals and objects. It’s another way to express what I like,” said Scheff. “They also have fun colors which is appealing to me because anything with colors I’ll wear.”
The sheer number of shapes available such as guitars, planes, tigers and turtles seems to be one draw for the fad.
“I have a Silly Bandz dinosaur that I stole from my little sister!’ said Gillian Hammond, a second-year psychology major. “I have no idea why they’re popular. I guess they’re just fun to have for some people… it’s a cool idea for a bracelet. They’re like our generation’s Pokémon cards.”
Feliz also thinks she has the answer to the fad’s popularity.
“The reason in all honesty I believe they are so popular is because everyone needs a trend to follow, silly bands just happened to be that trend,” said Feliz. “The popularity of Silly Bandz skyrocketed this past year and now it seems to be the thing everyone uses. There’s something about it that amuses everyone from the ages of five to 20. Also, many people want to brag about which new cool one they have or how many they have.”
Undeclared second-year student Alivia Messina agreed.
“I think they’re popular because they are accessible to all age groups and don’t require an extreme commitment,” said Messina. “Fashion-wise, they’re easy and unobtrusive. The Silly Bandz trend brings people together, gives them something to connect to other people with. They’re a huge waste of money because they are pretty much unstoppable. You can make a silly band into any shape and someone in the world will like it enough to buy.”
Sold in packs of 12 for about $2.50, or 24 for about $5, Silly Bandz seem inexpensive enough, but not when one considers how many some kids buy.
“I know people with over 500 of them and now it’s just become an obsession on who can get the most,” says Feliz. Feliz claimed she’s never bought them. “As much as I like them, I could never bring myself to pay for a pack just because the thought of spending so much money on it, it’s stupid.”
Trends come and go like the tides, some last a week, others years. Currently, Silly Bandz are going strong but the fad could end tomorrow and a new one could easily rise from its ashes. Until then, enjoy the Silly Bandz craze while it lasts.