If there is one thing that has become synonymous with Taylor Swift and her sold-out Eras tour, it is the friendship bracelet. Friendship bracelets, once considered a nostalgic fashion of the past, have made a triumphant return thanks to Swift. Fans are producing dozens, if not hundreds, to swap with other Swifties at live events.
Friendship bracelets exchanged during the Eras tour are often composed of beads in a variety of colours, spelling out different sentences and catchphrases. It could be song lyrics, titles, or fandom inside jokes.
The internet is awash with tips on how to build your own friendship bracelets for the tour, and fans are posting their creations on TikTok, racking up millions of views.
It’s not uncommon for friendship groups to get together before a concert to make bracelets, and there are even Facebook groups dedicated to exchanging crafting advice and clothing ideas.
It’s tough to trace this trend back to a specific Swiftie, but we know where the inspiration came from: Swift’s song You’re on Your Own, Kid from her album Midnights.
The song’s lyrics are: “So, make the friendship bracelets; take the moment and taste it.”
Midnights was released in October 2022, and when the Eras tour, which will cover Swift’s entire artistic career, was revealed just a few weeks later, several fans proposed making friendship bracelets to swap at the show. And thus began an international trend.
Craft stores have been reported to be fully sold out of beads, with Brisbane experiencing a “great bead shortage” as well. The bead businesses Guardian Australia talked with in Brisbane had not yet sold out, but they reported an amazing increase in sales since the Australian leg of the tour was announced last June. Swift’s Australian tour begins in Melbourne on February 16.
Bead, Trimming, and Co. provides wholesale beads in bulk. Manager Paul Georgiou has previously seen high demand for dance concerts and movie costuming, but said the Eras tour is unusual.
“Taylor Swift is her own economy,” he said, after selling over 20,000 bracelets since the Australian tour was announced.
Last September, finance service Klarna reported a 915% increase in the purchase of friendship bracelet kits, while recent data from eBay reveals a 15,200% spike in friendship bracelet sales.
A cottage business of Swift-themed bracelets has emerged, with people selling their handmade creations on Instagram and Etsy.
While the rise of friendship bracelets can undoubtedly be traced back to the Eras tour, the trend has taken on life of its own. What was formerly considered a children’s craft pastime has been reclaimed by Generation Z and millennials. People have also been seen handing out bracelets to other celebrities.