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Current trends in the world of ear plugs and tunnels.

Feature: Matthew Massey, MD Custom Plugs

Staying on top of various trends can be exhausting and time-consuming. The world is constantly evolving and with the rise of social media, trends can come and go in an instant. But, it’s incredibly important, particularly in my line of work to stay current.

Ear plugs by Custom Plugs

Along with my business partner Chris, we have built and grown our multi-million pound eCommerce website business Custom Plugs, from the ground up. Using our own money to expand the business in its early days, we knew that staying edgy and on top of trends were crucial to the success of our products.

Fast forward to today, and as a result we’ve become well-known and much sought-after when it comes to alternative clothing, ear gauges and plugs, body jewelry, and accessories. So today, I wanted to share my view on what is currently trending in the world of ear plugs and tunnels.

The noughties were extreme

During the '00s, trends around ear tunnels and plugs were getting more extreme, with bigger usually being better. Ear gauges kept getting bigger over time – the world record of the biggest ear gauge was actually in 2014 by Kala Kaiwi, 10.5 cm (4.13 in), and Joel Migler in 2015, setting the world record for the most flesh tunnels, boasting an impressive 11 tunnels in his face in total!

Since then, things have somewhat changed. We have moved away from more extreme versions of tunnels, and instead, we’ve moved into an era where bold statements are made using individuality, and by embracing beautifully crafted jewelry that enhances that uniqueness.

Leaf dangle ear tunnels : Custom plugs

Pop culture has a lot of influence

We've been selling ear gauges and plugs for over ten years now and have seen many trends come and go. Gaming, cult films, and TV series have influenced trends over the years.

For example, Game of Thrones drove a trend for dragons, ear tunnels have an association with counter culture, meaning there is consistently a demand for gothic style products and those that hint towards the occult, divination, and magic, as well as a nod towards historic medieval times, piracy, and Vikings.

Seasons are usually a given

Around Halloween we see an uptake in more extreme-themed plugs, and around Christmas we tend to see an increased demand for seasonal plugs, we’ve developed some really fun ranges to support these demands, they make great gifts for people too which helps drive demand.

Amethyst dangle ear tunnels : Custom plugs

Environmental sustainability is a current driver

But undoubtedly one of the most influential factors has been environmental issues affecting the globe. Unless you've been hiding under a rock, you can’t help but have noticed the international move away from plastics and non-sustainable products.

This has driven a demand for natural materials, organic-style products, natural stones, engraved glass and wooden plugs, natural finishes, and metals. Trends are leaning towards unique, aesthetically beautiful jewelry with natural stones and metals, with more organic shapes and styles.

This has been further enhanced by the vegan movement, where we’ve introduced a whole vegan leather range into our accessories, which is hugely popular.

New creative twists of the original

Dangle plugs that extend to look more like an earring are increasingly in demand, with a mix of natural stones and natural metals being at the forefront. Some of our best-selling products include the triad dangle and feather dangle plugs, and we continue to expand this range with some really exciting and beautiful alternatives.

Popularity of saddle/spreader plugs is also on the increase, which are a more varied and often intricate version of the traditional round plugs that have been popular for so long.

Floral double ear plugs by Custom plugs

Customisation creates unique designs

Of course, customisation is becoming increasingly more popular as people strive for further individuality. Ultimately, as with any fashion accessory, a plug is an expression of our personality.

We're running with this and very much see it as a big part of our future. Customers can upload their own pictures or designs, so we can make you your very own custom plugs, or even phone cases by using our generator.

When it comes to trends, you need to keep your pulse on what’s happening. You don't have to react or respond to everything, but you do need to cater to your customers. It’s all about finding that balance which is something we’re proud to be achieving at Custom Plugs.

Shop the full range of ear plugs, tunnels and body jewellery at