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Loom band fashion craze sweeps globe

Updated: 2014-08-02 08:12
By Agence France-Presse in Paris ( China Daily)

For millions of school children they are a must-have fashion accessory. Footballer David Beckham and Britain's Prince William have sported them.

Loom bands - colorful rubber bands woven together into bracelets and other items - are the latest craze to sweep playgrounds everywhere, from New York to Singapore.

Last month a dress made entirely from loom bands was sold on eBay for 170,000 pounds ($287,000), and the fad has made one French couple a million-dollar fortune.

Shops now sell kits, which are increasingly used to make everything from key rings and phone cases to necklaces and bikinis.

The craze even has its own vocabulary, with designs for bracelets available on the Internet such as "inverted hexafish", "fishtail" or "dragon scale".

Kathryn Burnand of the United Kingdom spent three-and-a-half weeks weaving her loom band dress, which was originally priced at a little more than $80.

But after going on eBay, the dress attracted bids from over 135 countries, landing Burnand and the friend who put it up for auction a hefty windfall.

Loom bands were invented in the US four years ago by Cheong Choon Ng, a crash-test engineer in Detroit at the time, who got the idea after seeing his daughters making bracelets out of elastic bands.

His loom device has sold millions worldwide and made the Malaysian immigrant a millionaire.

Alexandra Balikdjian, a psychologist specializing in consumer behavior at the Free University of Brussels, said it was easy to see why loom bands had taken off.

"These bracelets allow us to be like the people we identify with, but at a low cost," she said.

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