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Why Festivals Evolving Into Fashion Shows May Not Be a Good Thing

In the past decade, festivals have increasingly become more fashion orientated year on year. In fact, a huge part of watching festivals in the 21st century is to see what your favourite artists and influencers are wearing.

It’s now seemingly part of festival goers’ itinerary to purchase new outfits for each day that ultimately end up trashed after one wear and a cool Instagram photo, which doesn’t need to be the case.

Fashion Spotlight

Coachella is a leading example, the most prestigious music festival there is, starting at $429 a ticket. Over the past few years, influencers such as James Charles, Nikkita Dragun and Bretman Rock have been spotlighted for their fashion at the event, seeing huge reactions to their looks on social media.

One of Charles’ 2019 Coachella looks’ Instagram posts is his most liked in history. These viral moments aided the leading of Coachella to becoming one of the go-to events for trendy, exaggerated festival fashion.

But it’s not just the people in the crowd serving looks, artists are increasingly upping their fashion game on-stage too. Beyoncé’s 2018 headline Coachella show look quickly became iconic, and is one of the most memorable of her career. You know, the cropped yellow satin hoodie with the denim shorts and glittery boots? That’s the one.

Fast Fashion Takeover

In today’s landscape of festival fashion, it seems that festival goers are liberated to dress how they please, often taking on a ‘more is more’ approach and sporting outfits they’d probably never wear in daily life. Think tasselled hot pants, sequin bodysuits and outlandish co-ords. According to the 2016 Business of Fashion article, around 14 million people in the UK alone attend music festivals every year.

Festival fashion has without doubt been capitalised by fast fashion brands like ASOS, Boohoo and Missguided, who all run yearly festival collections as soon as summer rolls around. Many brands and retailers even refer to festival season as the ‘fifth season’, being as it’s “a new occasion driving shoppers to stores”.

Environmental Impact

However, the fast fashion popularisation of festival clothing has quickly become a huge negative for the environment, with $307 million worth of clothing items being worn only one, then thrown away. This wasteful consumption of disposable clothing has a huge impact on the planet.

Plus, it’s not just the clothes that are a problem; think about all that glitter. After all, they are tiny pieces of micro-plastic, taking years to biodegrade and are almost impossible to fully clean up.

Part of the problem is the stigma around rewearing outfits or packing old clothes for your festival-wear. According to The Independent, Censuswide found that, as a whole, “one in four of those surveyed would feel embarrassed wearing an outfit to a special occasion more than once.”

This isn’t helped by social media, where outfit reposts almost seem taboo, and you should only present shiny new images in different outfits in order to maintain a certain grid aesthetic. This shouldn’t be the case though – in today’s world, it’s more embarrassing to only wear an outfit once, due to its harmful environmental impact.

If you have a look you love that you’ve already worn one night at a festival, don’t fret! Re-jig the outfit by dressing it up or down, and try adding different accessories or new hairstyles to change up your look! Plus, this way you’ll save more packing space in your bag, so you can squeeze in some extra stuff too!

If the reason you’re drawn to fast fashion for your festival-wear is its low price point, why not try browsing a re-selling app like Depop or Vinted to try and find some festival bargains? Chances are, garments will be even cheaper and have only been worn once or twice.

Festivals are beginning to recognise environmental damage caused by their attendees too, with 61 British festivals committing to banning glitter and single-use plastics from their sites by 2021.

So, with festivals hoping to make a comeback this summer, keep your carbon footprint in mind and remember – you look great, you can totally wear it again!


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