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luciebellingham
16th April 2024

Does Hailey Bieber’s Rhode phone case signal the death of the handbag?

Hailey Bieber’s latest release, a phone case specially designed to fit a lip product, is just the next step in the ever-shrinking bag trend of recent years. Does this signal the handbag’s ultimate demise?
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Does Hailey Bieber’s Rhode phone case signal the death of the handbag?
Credit: Rhode lip case @ rhodeskin.com, £35 (https://www.rhodeskin.com/en-gb/products/lip-case?variant=44694146253038)

The era of lugging around a heavy bag filled with a phone, house keys, lip balm, and more may be coming to an end. Once again, Hailey Bieber, the model and beauty entrepreneur, has caused a stir on the internet—this time with an unexpected product.

Rhode, the beauty brand founded by Hailey Bieber with a focus on skincare, has previously been known for its chief product, a peptide lip balm. Yet after much teasing on Bieber’s own Instagram page, her brand has introduced a unique product- a phone case specifically designed to accommodate the brand’s popular lip peptide treatment.

Credit: Rhode @ rhodeskin.com, £35

Despite being available in only one colour option (a pale grey to match the rest of Rhode’s packaging), the phone case accommodates a multitude of phone sizes and is compatible with an iPhone 14, iPhone 14 pro max, iPhone 15, and iPhone 15 pro max. Priced at £35, the ‘lip case’ seems aimed at those who are already Rhode fans, and with a planned release on February 27 at 9am Pacific time (5PM GMT), fans were able to join the waitlist.

Now, although no one can deny this is a nifty invention, will the practical phone case lead to the death of the handbag? 2023 saw ‘Birkifying’ handbags become a huge trend, a craze based on the icon Jane Birkin’s tendency to decorate her Birkin bag with charms, stickers, chains, and ribbons. Many were quick to mimic this style, accessorising their own bags as a reminder not to be too precious with our much-loved handbags – they are meant to be worn.

@mavorosen

How i style #janebirkinbag

♬ original sound – $

Despite the popularity of these big, used, and treasured handbags, in this day and age it seems less and less necessary to take a bag with you when leaving the house. iPhone’s Apple Pay feature has allowed people to carry a built-in wallet wherever they go, and with an abundance of apps readily accessible, phones allow us to access our gyms, unlock our cars, buy our groceries, and contact almost anyone, at any time. So is a bag filled with our personal belongings really necessary? And with the additional benefit of a perfectly fitted slot for your Rhode lipgloss, what more could you ask for?

It’s a strategic design from Bieber. Each consumer transforms into a mobile Rhode advertisement, showcasing the brand’s lip treatment prominently whenever they take a mirror selfie, place their phone on a table, or send a text out in public, each becoming an influencer promoting the product (albeit, uncompensated).

This design should not be a surprise considering the downsizing of handheld accessories that have been so popular in recent years. Think the Jacquemus mini tote, which seems to get smaller and smaller with each design, yet still remains popular; or the resurgence in popularity of Y2K-inspired phone charms, modelled on celebrities and consumers alike. Both style choices profited from handheld designs.

@thebeadlesbeads

Shop our new collection✨ #beadnecklace #fyp #foodwehate #ColorCustomizer #emmachamberlain #smallbusiness #phonestraps phone-charm #baka #model #y2k

♬ original sound – TranceGender

While I am partial to a big, messy handbag crammed with keys, notebooks, a laptop, and an abundance of old lip products, even I can’t deny the practicality of this design. Which brings us to the question: will 2024 be the year the handbag dies?


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