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The Evolution of Festival Fashion

With the cancellation of multiple festivals last year due to the pandemic and festival season hopefully looming ahead, I thought we’d take a look back on all things festival fashion – past, present and future.

Whether you’re a festival pro, a one-hit wonder or a newbie to festivals, ticket holders all over the world have been suffering from festival blues. You might be looking for some fashion inspiration, so look no further.


The 60’s birthed the start of festival fashion, with the most memorable being Flower Power during the hippy movement. This style can also be seen to have had an influence on recent styles, with famous faces such as Katy Perry and Vanessa Hudgens rocking this look. Most memorable items include flares, kimonos, tie-dye and flower crowns.

In contrast to this style, the 60’s also brought Mods and Rocker fashion to bloom. These styles brought a darker, grungier look with Mods wearing parka jackets and Rockers wearing leather, with the likes of Mick Jagger and Marlon Brando being influencers.


The 70’s brought fashion expressionism of politics, with people showcasing one of the most recognisable iconic looks. It brought styles such as glam, punk and teddy boys. We saw the birth of the first-ever Glastonbury, which would become one of the most popular UK festivals. Most memorable items include fishnets, leather jackets, distressed denim, safety pins and heavy boots.

The likes of David Bowie started the Glam rocker era with his brightly coloured and patterned clothing. Buddy Holly became a style icon with zoot suits, offering a teddy boy style originally from the 50’s but with elements of glam. Punk fashion brought leather and more provocative clothing to festivals.


The 80’s saw new styles such as new romantic, rave and modern goth. New romantic was mostly flamboyant and eccentric clothing which was almost theatrical. Boy George was a fashion icon of this style with many people looking at him for inspiration. Rave clothing was bright, baggy and psychedelic.

However, the 80’s wasn’t just bright clothing. It saw a rise in a more punk aesthetic with black clothing and heavy makeup. Most memorable items include tartan, legwarmers, shoulder pads, velvet and off the shoulder tops.


The 90’s can be seen as one of the most defining decades, not only in fashion but for everything. It saw the rise in hip-hop styles including the switch to more oversized clothes, such as sports jerseys and bomber jackets. Grunge was also popular, with baggy clothes and flannel shirts inspired by Nirvana. Most memorable items include bleached denim, parka jackets, bucket hats and Harrington jackets.


The 00’s brought a more glam feel to festival fashion, with the likes of Kate Moss wearing mini dresses and low rise jeans. It also saw a rise in other trends such as grime and emo culture. Swooping fringes, dark clothing and stripes were at the forefront of this. Most memorable items include denim shorts, beanies, maxi skirts, skinny jeans and shutter shades.


The 2010’s brought a new era of fashion with attitudes shifting towards wear whatever you feel. People opted to have more expression with their own individual unique style, but a rebirth of past fashion favourites including flower power from the 60’s and 90’s grunge was also prevalent. Most memorable items include denim shorts with tights, graphic prints, flower crowns and fringed pieces.


I thought we’d take a look back on fashion styles in the later teens, since a majority of festivals were cancelled last year meaning people couldn’t show off their fashion. In more recent years, fashion has taken a complete shift with more variety than ever before. Whether that’s fishnets, bright co-ords, fringes, crotchet and cut out clothing everyone has the opportunity to express themselves.

The future

You can never be too sure what festival fashions people will be wearing, because I’m sure a few years ago people would have been shocked to see what we were wearing now. For example, I personally wouldn’t have guessed flares and brown clothing would make such a big return.

Popular upcoming trends are streetwear with brightly coloured items, as well as varsity jackets.

Asymmetrical pieces have been very popular recently too, including underbust tops.

However, buying all these fresh new outfits for every festival can have a huge effect on the planet. 87% of people say that they bulk buy new clothes for every festival, with a further 69% of people saying they would never wear those clothes again.

So, what can you do to help? Changing your shopping habits could have a tremendous impact. Simply buying from charity shops or Depop, or upcycling your old clothes into new fashion pieces, anything would do to help.

I hope you enjoyed this look back on the evolution of festival fashion, and it has inspired you to what to wear this festival season.


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