Silicon Wristbands: Fashion + Statement

In recent times, a certain bracelet has taken the world by storm, to the point where almost everyone is wearing them, or has worn them at one point in their lives. Bands of every color have been adorning the wrists of every type of individual for several years now, and it has worked its way up from being an accessory to being a fashion statement, almost becoming an obligatory part of daily outfits for a lot of people. And no, it doesn’t cost much and it definitely doesn’t sparkle like jewelry. What are these bracelets that seem to be everywhere nowadays?


They’re called silicone wristbands because, quite obviously, they’re bands or bracelets usually worn around the wrist, with wristband enthusiasts sometimes wearing several silicon wristbands at a time, layering them up the forearm. These bands are generally made out of silicone rubber and have simple designs on them (usually just a color, a few words or a logo) and as such they are very inexpensive and easy to make. They’re also called gel bracelets, jelly bracelets, or awareness bracelets (in cases where the wristbands represent support for a certain cause or charity).

These wristbands are usually worn as awareness bracelets, with more and more people showing their support and appreciation for their groups through their gel bracelets. However, there are also a lot of people who wear the wristbands as their own personal brand of fashion, expressing themselves using cheap bracelets and embracing the casual, almost sporty look that the wristbands contribute. Of course, there’s an ever-present debate regarding the actual aesthetic value of silicon wristbands, with some people claiming them to be fashionable and others considering them atrocities.

These wristbands came to popular existence as a fundraising tool for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Lance Armstrong, an American cyclist, developed a yellow wristband in the summer of 2004 as a part of the Wear Yellow Live Strong educational program. The bands (which then became known as the Live Strong Yellow Bands) were created to raise awareness about cancer, and also to support the victims and survivors. Armstrong himself was a cancer survivor.

He partnered with Nike, a popular sports brand, to fashion the wristbands in order to raise $5,000,000 for his foundation. Being a cyclist, he chose the color yellow due to its significance in professional cycling, like for instance the yellow jersey in Tour de France. The product took off, as evidenced by the fact that the majority of competitors in the 2004 Tour de France wore them. Soon enough, more famous personalities started wearing them, from other athletes in the Olympic Games, to politicians, actors, and news anchors. The visibility that these personalities gave to the wristbands definitely helped the wristbands attain the level of popularity that they have now.


Unfortunately, the popularity of the bands led to a lot of stores and websites selling them more as tools for profit instead of the awareness bracelets that they were intended to be, and this was said to have angered the man who started it all. It did stick, though, and by the start of 2005, more than 30 million wristbands have been sold.

As was mentioned, silicon wristbands are still mostly worn because of the underlying statement in them, and people wear them to proudly announce their allegiance or alliance to whichever charity, cause, or foundation they’ve chosen to support. The color of the wristband usually depends on the specific group’s motif or logo. For example, pink wristbands are worn to raise awareness for breast cancer, going along with the Breast Cancer pink ribbon awareness logo.

Each person has different reasons for wearing a wristband on his or her arm. It might be noble, or it might not. Nevertheless, the sheer amount of bands adorning people’s wrists just goes to show that the wristbands have become so popular that people almost need to have a reason to wear them.