I was chatting with Anina about phone fashion last week and went on a bit of a recon of what’s available in Bangkok right now. This is what I found.
Phone Jewelry (Phone Bling
Plastic diamonds and gemstones for your phone are available for about $3-4 a package. Most consist of sticky diamond hearts and multi-sized and coloured gems that you can randomly stick on your phone. Others however, are pre-arranged to form a shape like a heart or hello kitty character. Others still, are meant to fit perfectly around the keypad and designed with particular models in mind.
These mostly seem to come out of Korea and China. For about $3 you get a sheet of stickers (hearts, balloons, kawai characters etc.) that you can arrange at willâ€”or larger stickers that are meant for particular spots on the handset. The later are die-cut to fit around the keypad although there don’t seem to be any particular models in mind so it looks like some creative trimming may be involved.
I also ran into some privacy screens which are basically screen protectors designed to evade handset eavesdropping by making it difficult to see the screen from an angle.
Branded Phone Straps
There are tons of these around. The price ranges from $2 all the way up to $20 or more depending on where you buy them and what branded character is hanging off the strap (and how legally the character has been licensed.) Sanrio and San-X characters are pretty popular but the fad right now is Kubrick style vinyl bears. Most of them are very cheaply produced but I saw one store with at least 30-40 different styles of bear straps. A great example of some of the stuff available here can be found on this site devoted entirely to Japanese phone straps.
For the older crowd, there are lots of alternatives as well. I ran into a rack of supposedly Calvin Klein straps which were quite elegantâ€”just a short leather strap with a small diamond on the base. Others are a bit louder and include sequins, diamonds and bells (lots and lots of bells!) It’s also easy to find straps aimed at the ethnic Chinese minority with good luck charms and the ubiquitous beckoning cat.
Interesting to note as well that despite their perceived cute-ness, phone straps are in use by young and old of all genders. It’s not unusual to see adults (even men) with small branded characters dangling off their phones. My favourite last week was a 20 something man on the subway carrying a 6680 with a huge fuzzy pink heart dangling off of it. The heart was bigger than the phone!
I love these things. Basically, they’re bean bag chairs for your phoneâ€”usually with a hole in the middle so that the handset sits in a comfortable vertical position with the screen and softkeys visible. These can be as expensive as $20 and often also include some sort of branded property.
Basically these are things to carry your phone in. They’re often no more than little cloth drawstring bags but some can be quite stylish. At the cheap end, they can cost as little as $2.
These have been popular for years. For starters, you can buy a plastic coloured cover for almost any Nokia or Sony available. Some vendors carry nothing but covers and it’s quite amazing to watch them pop an old cover off and pop the new ones on. Every time I try i’m convinced i’m going to permanently damage my phone.
Lately, the fashion seems to be cases rather than cover. These are thick slightly opaque plastic (similar to certain iPod covers) and make the handset almost bullet-proof as a result. Once again, they are specially designed for your model and often emulate the brand (or even another brand) somewhat. A popular cover lately is a pink floral 6680 cover that makes the phone look like a pink N70 from a distance. Here again, the price ranges from $3 to $10 or more.
[Lots more on the Thailand mobile scene in this older post.]