Alex and Ani: Here to Stay or Just a Fad?

in category of Beauty & Style, Fashion, accessories, commentary, Sara LeDuc, trends

By now, half of the female population of the world owns at least one – if not many more – Alex and Ani bracelets. It’s crazy how fast a trend can spread, since a year ago hardly anyone knew Alex and Ani even existed.

Believe it or not, the story of these bracelets began in 2004 (eight years ago!). They were created in Cranston, Rhode Island, by founder Carolyn Rafaelian. These bracelets are eco-friendly and there are tons of different designs. They also have an “expandable” feature that not many other bangles, so they fit virtually any hand and wrist size.

The Alex and Ani site says that these bracelets are, “eco-friendly, positive energy products that adorn the body, enlighten the mind, and empower the spirit.” I’ve also heard that you must wear an odd number of the bracelets to receive positive energy (although I don’t think that idea is endorsed by the company).

The company offers bracelets that support “Charity By Design” and feature causes such as breast cancer and autism. They work with organizations such as Stand Up to Cancer, the American Red Cross, and Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals.

I first heard about these bracelets through my sorority last spring, and then I saw them being sold by a vendor at my university. The table was absolutely mobbed since every girl at school wanted to buy as many of the bracelets as they could afford. By the end of the day, the vendors were literally selling the Alex and Ani bracelets off their wrists, since so many of the styles had completely sold out. Talk about crazy!

I have a few of these bracelets and have worn them several times. I definitely think they’re cute and truly admire all the causes they support and partnerships they have made. Besides, everyone likes to see a small company take off!

With that said, I do wonder how long this particular craze will last.

I mean, look at other jewelry trends that have gone out of style. One of the best examples is the Zoppini bracelets. Remember those? They were stretchy bracelets connected by removable links that had little charms on them. Yeah, we all had one back in the day. I used to be obsessed with mine. I got new charms for every holiday for a little while, and I loved rearranging them, and adding more. I think there was a point where I wore one every day. But with time, I totally lost interest in the bracelet, just like everyone else did. The craze ended, and they remain buried in our jewelry boxes, getting tangled in old necklaces and collecting dust.

Isn’t it kind of inevitable that this will happen with Alex and Ani bracelets, too? They will be popular for some undisclosed amount of time, people will spend endless money on them, then one day they will just be a part of the past.

That’s why I don’t understand why people are buying literally hundreds of these bracelets. I’ve seen people wearing – no lie – 15 at a time. First of all, how much time does it take out of your day to put those on and take them off? Second, isn’t that uncomfortable? And finally – why are you spending so much money on a fad?

Maybe it’s just me, but despite how philanthropic and cute these bracelets might be, I just don’t see the point in putting such large investments into them. Doesn’t anyone else remember what happened to Pogs and Beanie Babies?

Yeah, me either. 

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