Surely by now you know what Silly Bandz are. I imagine you've seen them adorning the wrists of hipsters and tweens alike. No, it's not a sudden explosion of colored rubber bands converted into jewelry, it's... oh wait. Yes, that's exactly what it is.
Silly Bandz are colored rubber bands that are pluralized with a "z" for no apparent reason.
Okay fine, more importantly, Silly Bandz are rubber bands in various shapes such as dinosaurs, or tools, or letters of the alphabet (or my personal favorite -- sea creatures). You wear these rubber bands with little regard for color or matching categories, genres or subset of genres.
On your wrist they sit very crinkly and strangely and the common passerby might mistake them for a set of old, weakened hair elastics. When you take them off your wrist, however, they return right back to their true form. That's it. That is all Silly Bandz do. At the most they cost $4.95 for select styles at your local toy store (see tie-dye, glitter, or glow-in-the-dark), but it's fairly easy to find a flimsy pack at the drug store down the street for around $1.99. Right now silly bandz are everywhere.
They are silly, you see. Very, very silly.
Like most fads (because yes, I would call this a fad, even if perhaps it's part of a larger trend that has people longing for whimsical inexpensive tokens that carry a nostalgic emotional component for older consumers, and a chance at "cool" cultural currency for younger ones), these Silly Bandz seem to have been nowhere and are suddenly everywhere.
The thing I want to know, is this: what happens next? Is this fad simply going to fade in a few months, just as suddenly as it first appeared? Or can we expect to see Silly Bandz infiltrate the general public subconscious in surprising ways? For example, I see a logical tie-in to the marketing of TV shows, films, and new music, especially those that appeal to tweens and hipsters alike. Yes, I do believe there is an overlapping market there -- for different reasons sure, but anti-mainstream hipsters and Bieber-fevered tweens have a lot more in common than the average person might think. Most importantly -- these two subsets are top influencers of pop culture trends. Pay attention to the fashion choices you see around you and the next time you see someone sporting Silly Bandz, I can almost promise it's a hipster or a tween.
A longer version of this piece (with pictures!) was originally published at Jaw Wired Shut.