No one can take a time-out from the Y2K fashion revival. Not even our iPhones.
Like bucket hats and platform flip flops before them, phone straps of the early aughts variety are having a renaissance. Think of these attachable lanyards like the camp jewelry trend, but for your phone. The plainest phone straps start with rainbow-colored resin beads and get kitschier from there. Entire indie brands are dedicated to beaded phone straps, with String Ting, GriGri, and Hang On credited in mirror selfies across Instagram. Established accessories players are catching on, with versions appearing at Roxanne Assoulin and Lele Sadoughi.
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Alex Bass, founder at phone strap seller Hang On, says Y2K nostalgia is a big part of her brand. Hang On’s aesthetic harkens back to the days when cell phones were a novelty and personalizing them was a compulsion—the more glitter, the better. In Bass’s case, she stuck “stickers and rhinestones on every square centimeter of the phone, à la Carrie Bradshaw.”
But there’s more to the phone strap trend than 2000 calling to give our lucky charms back, String Ting founder Rachel Steed-Middleton tells BAZAAR.com. “The ‘smartphone-is-my-life’ way of being is more current and of the times, so this is really a very new and modern-day category of accessorizing,” she says.
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Brands like String Ting are definitely chicer than using ‘Find My iPhone.” And they go a step beyond practicality: Steed-Middleton says that clients often tag the brand on social media to show off entire outfits revolving around its phone straps. Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, and Kaia Gerber have all been spotted with String Tings dangling from their phones.
“Being more connected to our devices naturally makes us think about what they look like and how we can personalize them,” Bass agrees. “With Hang On, we’ve tried to capitalize on this trend but also reshape its narrative.” The brand offers two-for-one discounts on its charms—to encourage shoppers to buy one for a friend, and remind them to stay in touch.
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