Festival fashion, with its riot of color, sequins, flower crowns and worth-anything ensembles, is back. After a two-year pandemic-induced hiatus, Coachella, the California-based music festival that draws 250,000 fans, returned this weekend, bringing with it vibrant new trends and a cash boost for the fashion industry. .
Coachella, the hottest event of the festival season, is known as much for its outfits as it is for its performances. The trends for the rest of the year’s festival fashion are often dictated by the outfits worn by celebrities like Kendall Jenner, Katy Perry, and Gigi Hadid. For streetwear brands and fast fashion brands, Coachella is particularly important. Boohoo-owned fast fashion brand Pretty Little Thing, streetwear resale site StockX, and US-based Gen Z retailer Revolve will be sponsoring areas at the festival, not only to advertise to attendees, but also to those who watch from home and on social networks.
Ebony-Renee Baker, fashion editor for the Refinery29 website, describes it as “a huge business opportunity for brands and influencers – it’s gotten so big now and it’s being seen all over the world.”
Revolve brand director Raissa Gerona described Coachella on industry analysis website The Business of Fashion as “essential, it’s huge…it’s kind of a Super Bowl.”
Festivals have long influenced fashion, ever since Woodstock cemented hippy chic as an aesthetic in 1969. Over the years, images of ravers in the fields and Kate Moss at Glastonbury have brought tracksuits into fashion. and Hunter wellies. Recently, festival trends have included crochet and cycling shorts, now summer style stalwarts. There have also been controversial moments, such as in 2017 when the Native American-style headdress trend sparked claims of cultural appropriation.
Influencers can also make significant sums. Maryam Ghafarinia, who has 186,000 followers on Instagram, described the New York Post how it will capitalize on its attendance at Coachella, charging brands more than $2,000 (£1,530) per post from the site.
Amy Luca, senior vice president of Media.Monks, a global advertising and marketing services company, said these sums are dwarfed by the fees levied by household names: “When you talk about models and reality stars, that [payment] It can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
Baker said festival season is often an opportunity for people to try out trends. “I’m predicting a lot of ’90s-inspired looks, balletcore tulle skirts and leotards, cottagecore floral dresses, straw hats, lots of lace,” she said.
Fast fashion brands know that festival season is a time when consumers spend: The Business of Fashion reports a 173% increase in sales of festival fashion items across Boohoo, H&M, Asos and Nasty sites Gal, compared to 2019, doesn’t lend itself to a sustainable take on fashion, though Baker says festival-goers will look to sustainable options. “More people than ever before are turning to thrift and vintage shopping. Personally, I love a fresh new outfit for festivals, but I always look for second-hand options first.”
Philippa Grogan, sustainable fashion and textiles consultant, describes festival fashion as “instant fun – [a bit like] the festive Christmas dress but in summer”. She says this makes her “ask if [the clothes] they’ve been designed with longevity in mind… Then there’s the kind of aesthetic of the whole outfit, lots of sequins and lurex, which are often largely derived from fossil fuel materials like oil and natural gas, because they’re basically plastic.” .
Grogan suggests that being sneaky is an option. “Cut the sequins off existing things that aren’t plastic,” he said, “[and then] beautify an old cardi or something. If festival fashion is all about impact, creativity like this goes a long way: “You’re always wearing something unique if you’re really putting something together at home from existing materials.”