From pearl-encrusted barrettes and velvet headbands to embellished scrunchies and mismatched slides, hair accessories have come a long way since the flimsy schoolgirl-esque Alice bands that offered nothing but a sore head at the end of the day. And there's one hair accessories brand in particular that is piquing the interest of the most stylish Instagrammers out there. Enter: Tort.
Save for the coolest members of the fashion pack, UK brand Tort – founded by London-based PR Mona Ghafoori – has remained pretty exclusive and under-the-radar. That was until singer Jorja Smith matched her sequinned mini dress to two custom-made, glitter-splashed Tort clips during her set at Glastonbury. Since then, the resin accessories, all affordable at under £25, have been flying off the website. Each lacquered tortoiseshell slide, marbled claw clip and sequin-set barrette takes unusual but clever inspiration from decorative, antique homeware: think blown glass vases, ceramic pottery and classic amphorae. That's before we've touched on the charming names: grapefruit sorbet, smokey fog, baked terracotta.
Of course, having celebrity fans works wonders to propel a burgeoning accessories brand to popularity, but it seems Tort is beginning to go viral for more reasons than one. "Think of it as a jewellery box for your hair," says Mona. "It's the item you reach for when you want to feel cute, need to make your day (or outfit) better or hate everything in your wardrobe. A lot of jewellery brands do hair accessories, but there weren't many out there that were affordable enough to allow people to have a collection that they can build up over time or mix and match as you would with earrings, rings and necklaces. Tort does just that. Jewellery will always play a part in people's style, but in my experience, I wear the same jewellery every day, so I see hair clips and scrunchies as the new costume jewellery. They can be switched up daily depending on how I'm feeling or what I'm wearing." Clips made to look like resin are also fashioned from eco-material and each one comes housed in a luxe, protective pouch.
Aside from aesthetics, it was important to Mona to make the brand as inclusive as possible, which is why every style – whether you pick a simple slide or a '90s-inspired claw clip – was tested on all hair types and textures prior to launch. "I actually stopped wearing hair accessories in my mid 20s because I could never find ones that looked good, held well onto my thick hair and weren't really expensive. I really believe you shouldn't have to shop elsewhere because of your hair type. Long, short, afro, curly, black, blonde, pink, grey – we don't discriminate. Our clips hold well and look cool. When I did my first shoot, I made sure I used 'real' girls with different hair, from straight and curly to fine, afro and braided. People want to see models with hair like them wearing the accessories, especially when it's an online purchase."
So what's the simplest way to style hair accessories if you never really experiment with your hair? And how exactly can you make them look less toddler and more high fashion? Celebrity hairstylist Justine Marjan previously told R29 that the easiest way to nailing it is to start at the back. She suggested pulling your hair into a low bun or chignon and depending on your chosen style, placing pins or clips on either side or just below the bun. Another understated and simple way of accessorising would be to place your hair behind your ear and to position a clip slightly above your temple to keep the tuck in place.
"I love wearing one on each side, either Cora or Jade," adds Mona. "If you wear your hair up a lot, try swapping your regular hair-tie for a scrunchie or even simply wearing a single clip above or each side of a ponytail. If you have short hair, you can't go wrong with a statement slide like our Nora or Romy at the side."
Popular demand means a handful of designs, such as the Terrazzo Pearl and Anna clips, have already sold out, but judging by the hype, we're sure it won't be long before they're back in stock – especially with festival season in full swing. In the meantime, an abundance of styles including the celestial Luna clip in Marbled Space Camo, £20, and Romy clip in Dark & Stormy, £22, are still ripe for the picking.