Our dependency on technology has spawned a trend humanizing accessories for our phones, from nipple rings to thongs.

By Lizzy Zarrello.

In February of 2021 a survey on smartphone usage in the U.S. revealed that almost half the respondents spend four to five hours on their phone daily. It’s only expected that with the more time we spend on our phones, the stronger the urge to embellish them. Cell phone accessories have always been the rave, whether it was charms for flip phones or bedazzled Sidekicks. But as of recently these trends are taking a more human-like approach, in essence anthropomorphizing the device itself. As we see phones as an extension of ourselves rather than a utility, phone accessories change from a tool of self-expression to a mode of self-reflection.

One of the more titillating takes on the phenomenon is the Nipple Ring Phone Holders. Created by German studio Sucuk und Bratwurst in collaboration with musician Yung Hurn, the cellular “boob job” turns a prosthetic nipple into a phone holder. It’s an arousing interpretation of the everyday PopSocket, consisting of an adhesive rubber nipple attached to a metal ring. Though consumers might add this piercing simply as a playful gadget, our desire to give human characteristics to phones demonstrates a subconscious personal attachment to them.

An accessory that addresses this attachment with a satirical twist is the Phone Case Hanger, created by Urban Sophistication in collaboration with object designer Benjamin Edgar. Edgar often uses the concepts of utilitarian objects and transforms them into something unfamiliar. In his eyes, clothing hangers are “so specifically boring,” however, his hanger designed to hold and store phone cases gives them a novel appeal. The top part consists of a traditional hanger hook, attached to a plastic phone-shaped mannequin in lieu of an article of clothing.

“If clothing hangers roughly mimic the shape of a human’s shoulders…the phone case should mimic the shape of a phone’s ‘shoulders’ in a sense,” explains Edgar. The final result is both humorous and unsettling. Edgar revealed, “I’d love to maybe do another in a wild material–milled stainless steel or ceramic perhaps.”

If nipple rings and phone hangers aren’t enough for your accessorizing needs you can always buy your phone literal clothing, specifically, a phone thong. Created by The Internet Shop in collaboration with Swedish artist Arvida Bystrøm, the lingerie for your phone is based on her photograph, You’d rather be an iPhone than a woman, and even comes with a matching human pair.

Whether we’re fondling a phone by its pretend private parts, hanging its “clothing” by a hanger, or slipping it into something sexy, our relationships with our phones are more personal than ever. When asked about the meaning behind Phone Case Hangers, Edgar states, “I suppose from my perspective it’s about how these phones have become, for better or worse, essential to exist.” Ultimately, phones are becoming a vital part of our existence. These accessories merely provide a new avenue to embrace their necessity.

Image credit: The Internet Shop, Trey White