Why real friendship bracelets rock (and how to make your own)

Anyone my age knows them well, and if you’re like me, you’ve been feeling slightly gooey at noticing they’re back Friendship bracelets. 

Rewind to 1986. I was 12 years old and in Grade 7. It was the year of Top Gun, Manic Monday and Granny Mays Paper shops.  

Weekdays we were trussed up in a six-part school uniform, kept perfect by a dress code enforced with military-like zeal.
On weekends we dressed in navy blue Esprit windcheaters, pleated Corfu jeans, and those funny little fringed loafers with the coins on them. There was the occasional frilly collar too – we weren’t particularly cool.

Enter the friendship bracelet.  My friend Georgie rocked up to class one day after a long-weekend at home on the farm, slyly rolling up her shirt sleeve, revealing a little mass of brightly coloured cotton threads. We were aghast and thrilled by her rebellion.

“They won’t come off unless you cut them” she confided.

Georgie had older sisters in their last of high school, and by that association had always been much groovier than the rest of us. Now not only did she know all the lyrics to every Cold Chisel song ever released, but now she was a style-maven too.

For the next few months groups of us gathered at lunchtimes, weaving away, truly putting our pre-adolescent hearts in to the job of tailor-making beautiful wrist bands for our best-friends, and extras for swapping. It could get a little competitive, but the process was imbued with an innocence and warmth, that as adults we just can’t muster anymore.

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Back to the present, and the resurgence of the so-called friendship bracelet. They’re everywhere. Cute, bohemian, but the irony is in the title.

“Once the preserve of teenage girls everywhere, the friendship bracelet has just hit the fashion radar – and this time around you don’t have to DIY “writes Elle UK. A recent fashion feature in a weekend glossy featured a whole page of friendship bracelets- priced from $70- $300. Maybe my history with the said adornment has resulted in me becoming overly sentimental, but it made me sad. “Call them something else!” my irrational-self hissed silently.

So just when it seemed to me that the friendship bracelet was in danger of losing its soul, I went to Dr Google (this time seeking a therapist, rather than GP). I was then referred to the University of You Tube. And now, here I am after some intensive tutorials, about to start to making my first friendship bracelet in 25 years.

Keen to treat a mate to a blissfully colourful token of your friendship? Either sell the dog and layby some of those Tiffany celebration rings- or keep the noble skill of the handmade bracelet alive, and check out these brilliant online lessons for beginners.

Edwina Dick is a Tasmanian-born, Sydney-based freelance writer with an extensive background in food and drink

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