Friendship bracelets have become a signature element of Taylor Swift’s popular Eras tour, representing her close relationships and sold-out shows.
Friendship bracelets, once seen as a nostalgic trend of the past, have recently experienced a resurgence thanks to Swift. Fans are now creating and exchanging dozens, and even hundreds, of these bracelets with fellow Swifties at her live shows.
What is the origin of this trend and what is the reason for fans’ intense fascination?
What do friendship bracelets represent?
If you have not experienced a sleepover as a 12-year-old girl before, here are the basics: bracelets are created by braiding materials or threading beads and then exchanged with a close friend.
According to certain sources, these bracelets may have originated from the Indigenous groups of Central and South America. In the 1970s, macrame friendship bracelets gained popularity among hippies. Later on, in the 90s and early 2000s, schoolchildren often made bracelets using “scoubidou” in various knotted designs, which were then exchanged among friends on the playground.
What are the fans of Taylor Swift creating?
The bracelets that are exchanged at the Eras tour to symbolize friendship are commonly crafted with beads in a multitude of colors, often spelling out various words or catchphrases. These may include song lyrics, titles, or inside jokes within a fandom.
There are countless online guides available for creating friendship bracelets to show support for the tour, and fans are showcasing their unique designs on TikTok, garnering millions of views.
It is a common occurrence for friend groups to gather before a performance to make bracelets together. There are also Facebook groups specifically for exchanging crafting advice and outfit suggestions.
Why are people creating and exchanging them?
It is impossible to link this trend back to any particular Swiftie, but we do know where the idea came from – Swift’s song You’re on Your Own, Kid from her album Midnights.
The words of the song say, “Let’s create friendship bracelets, savor the moment.”
When did this pattern begin?
In October 2022, Midnights was made available and shortly after, the Eras tour was announced, covering Swift’s entire music career. Some fans proposed exchanging friendship bracelets at the show, leading to a global trend.
Is the demand for beads high?
Craft stores have experienced a high demand for beads and some have even completely sold out. In Brisbane, there is a widespread shortage of beads. While bead stores in Brisbane have not run out yet, they have noticed a significant increase in sales since the announcement of Taylor Swift’s Australian tour in June. The tour begins in Melbourne on February 16th.
Paul Georgiou, the manager of Bead, Trimming and Co, has noticed a significant increase in demand for wholesale beads in bulk. While dance concerts and movie costuming have previously been popular, the Eras tour has presented a unique opportunity for the company.
He humorously stated that Taylor Swift is like a self-sustaining economy, as he has sold over 20,000 bracelets since the announcement of her Australian tour.
Last September, the finance company Klarna saw a 915% rise in the sale of kits for friendship bracelets, and recent data from eBay reveals a staggering 15,200% increase in searches for friendship bracelets.
There is now a growing market for bracelets inspired by Swift, with individuals selling their own handcrafted pieces on social media platforms like Instagram and Etsy.
Has the phenomenon extended to other people besides Taylor Swift?
The answer is yes.
The popularity of friendship bracelets has been attributed to the Eras tour, but it has now become a trend of its own. The activity, once considered for kids, has been embraced by Gen Z and millennials. Celebrities have also been seen exchanging these bracelets with each other.
Last month, a TikTok video featuring the Brisbane Broncos receiving personalized friendship bracelets became popular. Additionally, during the Australian Open, former One Direction member Louis Tomlinson was gifted a friendship bracelet.
The undeniable love story between singer Taylor Swift and NFL player Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs began with a simple bracelet. Kelce had crafted a friendship bracelet with his phone number, hoping to catch her attention at one of her concerts. Although he didn’t have the opportunity to give it to her, the two are now in a relationship.
What is the reason for the immense popularity?
One possible reason for its rise in popularity could be the strong affinity that Gen Z has for nostalgic 2000s trends. Another contributing factor could be the creation of a genuine sense of in-person community, providing a break from the online world and an opportunity to form new friendships. Additionally, for long-time fans of Taylor Swift, it allows them to share an old hobby with their children, connecting over crafting and a mutual love for music.