What comes around goes around, even for the objects that adorn the tops of our heads. With that, fashion followers have extended a warm “welcome back” to one of the ’80s’ most-polarizing accessories: the scrunchie.
For the last decade, scrunchies have led a dual life: Decried as a faux pas by the fashion mainstream while also playing the role of hipster tiara for American Apparel employees.
Recently, however, scrunchies have begun attracting wider appreciation — perhaps a runoff effect of the ’80s’ renaissance trend. By some indications, scrunchies are on the cusp of a full revival — popping up at each echelon of the pricing spectrum.
Urban Outfitters has display racks dedicated to the scrunchie — offered in materials spanning from velvet to satin. The hair ties are a cute marketing gimmick for the Instagram-famous label Maison Cléo; the brand — based in Lille, France, and known for its diaphanous, trendy blouses — sends shoppers a free scrunchie with each order.
To accompany its resort 2018 collection, Balenciaga cinched models’ hair with scrunchies — or chouchou, as they are known in French — theirs made of lambskin and priced at nearly $200.
Rare Market — the buzzy Gangnam, Seoul boutique owned by Dami Kwon, sister of G Dragon and Jessica Jung, the former lead singer of Girls’ Generation — used scrunchies as a glam-rock styling foil in the latest look book for its rising in-house brand, We11Done.
The scrunchie trend ironically rolled back into fashion circa 2010, when Dov Charney blanketed American Apparel’s cash wrap shelves with the fluffy hair tie, a maneuver to recycle and profit from fabric scraps.
In 2013, social media consultant Kata Hicks and fashion editor Ruthie Friedlander launched the satirical account @ScrunchiesOfInstagram — posting archival images from the scrunchie’s heyday, with the self-professed intention to champion “the return of the scrunchie, one scrunchie at a time.”
This season, it would appear these efforts have finally materialized. From Seoul to Los Angeles, early adoptors of this scrunchie revival praise the accessory’s blend of style and comfort.
New York-based art director Raine Trainor, an avid scrunchie fan, said of the trend: “I like them because they can coordinate with an outfit or completely throw it off with a totally different pattern. They’re gentle on most hair types, which is why I wear them working, traveling, at the beach — they don’t damage my follicles like a normal rubber band.”
Amid this ’80s redux-induced haze, a luxury scrunchie brand has emerged. Comfort Objects, an accessories label based in Denmark, repurposes vintage Hermès scarves and converts them into silken scrunchies, priced at $112.
In a workaround to avoid the accessory’s negative retro connotations, Comfort Objects founder Line Sander Johansen has renamed the scrunchie. She prefers the term “hair cloud.”
Sander Johansen said of the newfangled term: “The Hair Cloud as I named it, instead of the mixed feelings I had about the scrunchie concept, is based on the idea of them looking like silk clouds around the hair, when tied a bit effortless in a bundle.”