Festival fashion is back as Coachella marks the return of the big outdoor music party | Fashion

Festival fashion, with its riot of colors, sequins, flower crowns and party dresses, is back. After a two-year hiatus induced by the pandemic, Coachella, the California-based music festival that attracts 250,000 fans, made a comeback this weekend, bringing with it new trends and more money 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. Festival fashion trends the rest of the year are often dictated by the dresses worn by celebrities such as Kendall Jenner, Katy Perry and Gigi Hadid. For streetwear brands and fast fashion brands, Coachella is particularly important. Boohoo-owned fast-fashion label Pretty Little Thing, streetwear resale site StockX and US-based Gen Z retailer Revolve will sponsor areas of the festival, not only to advertise attendees but also to those who watch from home and on social media.

Ebony-Renee Baker, fashion editor of the Refinery29 website, describes it as “such a great business opportunity for brands and influencers: it has gotten so big now and is being watched all over the world.”

Kate Moss gave Hunter wellies a boost after wearing them at Glastonbury in 2005.
Kate Moss gave Hunter wellies a boost after wearing them at Glastonbury in 2005. Photograph: MJ Kim / Getty

Revolve chief brand officer Raissa Gerona described Coachella to industry insight website The Business of Fashion as “essential, it’s huge … it’s this kind of Super Bowl.”

Festivals have long had the influence of fashion, since Woodstock consolidated hippy chic as an aesthetic in 1969. Over the years, images of ravers in the fields and Kate Moss in Glastonbury have made tracksuits and Hunter rubber boots. Recently, festival trends have included crochet and cycling shorts, now supporters of the summer style. There were also controversial moments, such as in 2017, when the trend for Native American-style headdresses led to claims of cultural appropriation.

Influencers can also make significant sums. Maryam Ghafarinia, who has 186,000 followers on Instagram, described al New York post how it will benefit from participating in Coachella, charging brands up to $ 2,000 (£ 1,530) per post from the site.

Amy Luca, senior vice president of Media.Monks, a global marketing and advertising services company, said these sums are dwarfed by the fees charged by household names: “When it comes to models and reality stars, that [payment] it can go up to hundreds of thousands of dollars ”.

Baker said festival season is often an opportunity for people to try trends. “I anticipate a lot of 90s vintage-inspired looks, balletcore tulle skirts and bodysuits, cottagecore floral dresses, straw hats, lots of lace,” she said.

Fast fashion brands know festival season is a time for consumers to spend: The Business of Fashion is seeing a 173% increase in festival fashion sales at Boohoo, H&M, Asos and Nasty Gal sites , compared to 2019. This doesn’t lend itself to a sustainable view of fashion, although Baker says festival-goers will look for sustainable options. “More people than ever are inclined to thrift, second-hand shopping and vintage. Personally, I love a fresh new dress for festivals, but I always look for second hand options first.

Models Jasmine Tookes, Romeo Strijd and Lais Ribeiro at Coachella 2018
Models Jasmine Tookes, Romeo Strijd and Lais Ribeiro at Coachella 2018. Photograph: Jeremy Moeller / GC Images

Philippa Grogan, fashion and sustainable textile consultant, describes festival fashion as “instant fun – [a bit like] the festive dress for Christmas but in summer “. She says this makes her “wonder if [the clothes] have been designed with longevity in mind … Then there’s the kind of aesthetic of the ensemble, lots of sequins and lurex, which are often largely derived from fossil fuel materials like oil and natural gas, because they’re basically of plastic”.

Grogan suggests getting smart is an option. “Cut the sequins out of existing things that aren’t plastic,” he said, “[and then] embellish an old thistles or something. If festival fashion is about impact, creativity like this goes a long way: “You’re always wearing something unique if you’re really putting something together at home with existing materials.”

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