The road most traveled on

Exploration of how water bottles adjust to trends.
A line of various student water bottles in just one classroom. The brands of these range from Owalas to Stanley Cups and more.
A line of various student water bottles in just one classroom. The brands of these range from Owala’s to Stanley Cups and more.
Photo by Chloe Mead

The Stanley Cup water bottle has grown to be a very popular water bottle choice among Generation Z. Its popularity spread through social media platforms such as Tik Tok and Instagram. Surprisingly enough, the original intention for the creation of this versatile tumbler does not align with a majority of its use today. When the Stanley Cup was first created in 1913, it was geared towards construction workers. The inventor, William Stanley Jr., wanted a way to keep his coffee warm through the duration of his workday on the construction site. He created an all-steel, double-wall vacuum bottle that became a staple for many workers. 

The 100-year-old brand went viral on social media in 2022 due to its versatile colors, and various different sizing options. Their most popular design, the Stanley Quencher, comes in five sizes: 14 oz., 20 oz., 30 oz., 40 oz., and 64 oz.

The Stanley water bottle spread among nurses because of the convenience of the cup: It can hold a large amount of water and still fit in a car cup holder. Eventually, it was recognized among young teenagers. The tumbler style complimented aesthetics and the large array of colors interested many girls. As more people purchased the water bottle, it reached a bigger audience. The water bottle was an easy gift to give to family and friends. Stores put the tumbler on displays by the front entrance to entice customers.

Despite its immense amount of popularity, there have been many other water bottles prior to the Stanley tumbler. In the 2000s, the Nalgene, Nipple Top, and Contigo water bottles were admired due to their “granola girl” aesthetic. Later, the Camelbak bottle took over. By 2015, S’well was the “it” water bottle and the beginning of the iconic “VSCO girl” era. Then in 2019, the Hydro Flask hit the scene. The idea of decorating it with stickers and bracelets was exciting to many. Finally, in 2022 the Stanley cup made its mark among teenage girls and has continued to since.

The aesthetic that it brings has led the trending water bottle to fluctuate; but why do people follow these trends? 

“I feel like if it works for other people, then I’ll try it and see if it works for me too,” sophomore Ella Jackson said.

Teenagers specifically are often assumed to be easily influenced. Their friends and peers play a large part in what they do and what they buy. Products as simple as a cup can become controversial. Although the second opinion influences their decisions, they still want to make their own choice.

“I find comfort in having the same thing as everyone else,” sophomore Emily Bonoan said, “But I’m not afraid to think outside of the box and be different.”

People get the latest, up-to-date product because they do not want to be an outcast. 

“Everybody follows trends,” sophomore Vanessa Miller said, “I follow them because it makes me feel comfortable.”

Even though the trending water bottle is currently the Stanley, some choose to take a different route and try something apart from the norm. 

“I just didn’t really like how the Stanley looked,” junior Anna Ripely said, “It was just too big and the handle was annoying, so I chose to get an Owala.”

The Owala water bottle began to grow in popularity. People really like this bottle because of the ability to sip it  from a straw or tilt it like a cup. 

Slowly, the hallways began to switch from being filled with Stanley Cup’s to Owala water bottles; in a matter of months the trends switched completely.Trends are constantly changing because of our own decisions and motivations: whether or not we want to be like our friends or if we are comfortable enough to choose an outside option.

“If a lot of people are doing [a trend], you will want to do it too,” junior Ella Ford said.

Trends run our life; what we say, what we do, what we wear, and these trends trickle down to something as simple as a water bottle. Over time a product created for practicality has become more complicated and intricate than ever. 

Instead of letting this pattern continue, society should break the pattern of trying to “be on trend” and choose to be different. So instead of buying the new “it” tumbler, look in the back of your cupboard and use your old, neglected plastic water bottle. 

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