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If your phone is always in your hand (and let’s face it, it pretty much is), then perhaps its case is actually your most-used accessory. When you take — and post — a mirror selfie, your phone case plays a starring role in the image.
Recognizing that, Casetify has managed to make phone cases (somewhat attainable) status symbols of sorts. Though you may not have noticed, there’s a good chance your favorite celebrity or influencer encases their phone in a Casetify case (prices, on average, range from $45-70). To say that everyone uses them (or has worked with them) is, in this case, not really an exaggeration. Once you start noticing them, you sort of can’t stop.
On Thursday, their collaboration with Gen Z it-girl Olivia Rodrigo went live, which, alone, speaks to the level of collaborations the brand has been able to secure. Other collaborators, while there are far too many to mention (the brand said it averages 50-60 a year) include celebrities and brands spanning Blackpink to KFC and Disney to BTS.
First things first — where did Casetify come from? The brand launched in October 2011, then called Casetagram, with cases customized with one’s own Instagrams, and was an immediate success thanks to press coverage on Mashable, and well, narcissism? “ [As soon as] the article was live, our server crashed. We didn’t expect that much traffic coming in,” said Wes Ng, Casetify’s Hong Kong-based CEO and co-founder. Since then, the business model has changed, though you’ve not yet heard the last of that original phone case. Today, Casetify quite literally has thousands and thousands of phone cases to choose from spanning the countless ones you can put your name or initials or whatever else on, endless patterns, and more. It also works with artists allowing Casetify to serve as a platform for them to share their work. “Casetify represents, empowering self-expression. Phone cases are like a personal billboard, people love the idea of finding what they represent,” Ng said.
In the decade since the brand has used a combination of gifting, and smart collaborations to cement its positioning. One that likely helped steer the ship in the right direction came as a result of Ng meeting and connecting with Sarah Andelman, founder of the since-closed Parisian concept shop, Colette, who Ng said taught him a lot about brand building. They began working together in 2015. “Sarah started bringing Casetify on as a partner for her tech accessory collaborations. Colette was known for bringing together all types of fashion icons and industry-leading brands, and reinventing the way consumers interact with them through unique products,” Seltzer said, noting that “early collabs that were made possible through Sarah were only available to shop at the Parisian boutique: including Coach, YSL, and Thom Browne.”
Around the camera lens on a Casetify case, you’ll see the brand’s name. “Since we started 10 years ago, we’ve had some designs plagiarized by competitors. So we wanted to find a way for people to recognize where the design and products come from. We came up with a branded camera ring that is both recognizable and solves the problem. It’s a brand identity. It’s bold, but our customer likes it. Now customers know when they buy the real thing,” Ng said.
Nowadays, brand seems to have a monopoly on a certain kind of cool-girl celebrity/influencer — that is to say they’re used by Addison Rae, Dixie D’Amelio, Hailey Bieber, Sophie Turner, Bella Poarch, Gigi Hadid, Dua Lipa — and more. The team employs a gifting strategy that goes beyond throwing products at people. For example: sending Kylie Jenner a case emblazoned with Stormi shortly after her birth, or sending The Weeknd cases from our collaboration with Sorayama, (see the last slide), “because we knew he was a fan of the artist and even has a statue by Sorayama in his house,” explained Jenny Seltzer, the brand’s communications manager.
Kylie was also instrumental in popularizing the brand’s mirrored phone cases. “One day we received an email from her manager saying, Kylie would love some mirror cases,” Ng told me. “She saw them on social media and they asked if we could send some so she can try them out. There were no guarantees [about posting images with the accessories], but we said, of course, we’d love to! The next thing we saw was her using it and posting it on her Instagram.” Though not every brand is so lucky, the result was that comments poured in on social media. “People started searching for the ‘Kylie Phone Case’ and commenting on our Instagram saying ‘I want the case like Kylie has.’ We started getting a lot of attention from the press, and seeing our cases inspire trend pieces like this one on InStyle,” Seltzer said.
The collaboration with Olivia Rodrigo came about organically too, according to the brand. “We reached out to her team to introduce ourselves and the brand,” Seltzer said, explaining that they emphasized their sustainability mission and use of recycled materials. “Olivia wears vintage fashion and is very passionate about sustainability, so this was something her team saw a connection with. Our next step was Olivia picking out cases and designs she liked from our site, so she could experience them and enjoy them herself! We wanted to make sure it was a natural relationship and that she loved our products as much as we loved her! The collaboration followed this experience,” Seltzer explained. The collaboration heavily leans into Olivia’s pop-punk aesthetic, and was in fact, the biggest shoot the brand has ever done for one of its many collaborations, said Jillian Wheeler, Casetify’s creative director. For the shoot, Rodrigo worked with her usual team, stylists Chloe and Chenelle, and makeup artist Molly Greenwald.
This year, for reasons even beyond the Rodrigo collaboration, has been a big one for the brand. It saw a total resurgence in the popularity of that original Instagram-bedecked case, thanks to, well, TikTok. The case has since been renamed The TikTok Case. In fact, the Casetify site has a dedicated “As seen on TikTok” section. On TikTok, the hashtag #casetify has 865.8 million views, which is somewhat astonishing for a phone case brand. The company has worked with mega influencers like @ameliezilber (7.2 million followers on TikTok) to show followers the process of designing the Instagram cases. Needless to say, the company is extremely popular with Gen Z right now. A current favorite is the brand’s Acid Smiles case, which just made an appearance on Dixie D’Amelio’s Instagram on December 15.
Wheeler chalks up the company’s popularity with Gen Z to its responsivity to the zeitgeist. It is, she said, “amazing at really capturing the Gen Z market, and keeping it all about personality, and just really relating to the customer with all of the fun collaborations that we do. It’s about putting personality and expression first.”
Secondhand gets an endorsement — and curated picks — from “And Just Like That” costume designers
Resale platform thredUP tapped “And Just Like That” designers Molly Rogers and Danny Santiago to curate three shops inspired by their styling for the “Sex And The City” spinoff — there’s The Statement Maker, The Polished Romantic, and The Laid-Back Power Dresser. When the team at ThredUP heard about the spinoff, they immediately knew they had to do something, said Sam Blumenthal, director of consumer communications at thredUP. “With “Sex in the City,” in particular, thrift and vintage has always been a part of the fashion story, in part due to Sarah Jessica Parker, who is herself, a thrifter, and has been known to wear secondhand and vintage.” Rogers and Santiago are said to have used vintage — and thredUP — to source items for the show.
We asked Rogers a couple questions about the collab — and of course, styling “And Just Like That.”
Why did you want to work with thredUP?
“We love to thrift on thredUP and believe in their mission of creating a more sustainable future for fashion. We were so excited to bring our style to fans everywhere in a sustainable, affordable way. It’s even more special that thredUP is donating the proceeds to The Willie Garson Fund and that means so much to us! We hope the fans of the show will shop for a great cause and in memory of Carrie’s bestie.”
What is the benefit of using vintage as a costume designer?
“As costume designers, thrifting offers us endless variety, uniqueness, a mix of high and low, and accessories galore – some of which are often hard to find in traditional brick and mortar stores. Costume designers are also budget conscious and always looking to get the wardrobe for their shows at the best prices.”
Can you tell us about any specific vintage pieces any of the women wear in AJLT?
“We can’t reveal too much, but we placed vintage and thrift on many characters! It was a signature of SATC to mix high and low and to incorporate special finds from favorite vintage stores and online resale shops.”
What’s the best Thredup find you’ve had?
“It’s glittery and it’s in the season finale! Look for it and guess! We had a lot of fun picking out looks for the curations and hope that shoppers will have fun too! They can find something they love and at the same time feel good for supporting a great cause. Yay!!”
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