Trends - Friendship Bracelets

1980s-Inspired Apparel Trend Makes A Big Comeback

Friendship BraceletsThe old favorite is back. Friendship bracelets are in their peak season during the summer, as campers and other preteens solidify their summer relationships by wearing different fabrics around their wrists.

For years, wearers have created their own bracelets with craft kits, and then traded them with friends. While some are made of colorful woven thread, others are twined with gimp (a plastic lacing also used to make keychains), zipper pulls and bookmarks. They can feature bright colors with accents such as shells, hemp and charms.

But these days, the bracelets are not just for the crafty camp crowd; recently, at retail, the accessories have featured spike and stud details for a little more edge. For example, DNA – a national retail store that features talented, up-and-coming designers – offers colorful woven pieces with pyramid studs. Indeed, the friendship bracelet trend, which exploded with the Flashdance look of the 1980s, is back in full swing.

And, that's a trend distributors can capitalize on, as companies look to market to young demographics. Friendship bracelets have certainly made their way into supplier wares recently.

"Ours are made of cotton cloth," says Maria LaFichi, executive vice president at Zenith Promotions (asi/98980). "We offer pastel colors, which are great for the Easter season, and we have more traditional ones in neon colors for year-round applications. They're also self-adjustable."

Often, industry friendship bracelets are imprinted with direct screen print, debossing or sublimation.

According to LaFichi, while friendship bracelets are popular at summer camps, they're often sold year-round. "On the West Coast, the trend is more year-round than on the East Coast, where it's more of a spring and summer item," she says. "But we do see both boys and girls wearing them, so they're definitely a unisex piece. And they fit all ages because they're adjustable."

LaFichi doesn't expect friendship bracelets to go away anytime soon. "I think they'll stay popular," she says. "They've been selling since they hit the market. They're also really inexpensive, which makes them a great option for a promotional campaign."

For hot markets to target with this retro trend, consider schools, athletic events, beach promotions and, of course, summer camps.