Taking note of festivals and cultural appropriation.
In the last 10 years or so, festival fashion has become a bonafide thing. It used to be that people just went out in whatever they did not mind ruining because they would be in a field getting attacked by mud and grass but all that has changed. Now you have to think exactly about what you will be wearing. The idea that you have to dress in a certain way to go to a festival and listen to bands/DJs play music has now reached a level of absurdity with the Coachella cliché. This is probably someone who is covered in metallic flesh tattoos, a plastic flower crown and in dressed in some crochet creation or something quite similar.
It’s the ‘look at me, I’m at a festival’ look and has become a great marketing tool for many fashion brands as a great way to cash in on fast fashion. Brands like ASOS, Urban Outfitters and Free People understand this peacocking and have capitalised on it publishing festival look books and selling their clothes particularly around festival season. In Free People’s case, they have developed a full brand around the boho chic look offering flowing whispy dresses for the care free girl. In reviewing their collection, the dresses are beautiful and make an impact at any event.
It seems that the essence of this festival fashion look that brands develop comes from that idea that one must look effortless in a 60’s flower power manner. It also allows anyone to be creative for a weekend, play dress up and wear something they normally would not. It is particularly nice to see what revellers in a hot and sunny climate have the opportunity to wear at their festivals. However, what people who write about Coachella fashion as the pinnacle of festival fashion tend to forget is that Coachella is held in California and its pretty hot there. Therefore, it does not directly apply to a festival in the middle of Somerset trying to navigate through mud. I am yet to come across a time in the UK when it is perfect to wear a bikini and sandals.
Whilst most of it is quite trivial, there are some aspects of festival fashion that brings out the political and ethnic inconsideration of brands and festival goers. Free People have recently drawn up criticism for its new collection which features headdresses, medicine bags and rain sticks. We have seen many who choose to wear the Native American headdress or Bindis with little consideration for the spiritual and cultural meaning it has to those group of people. This is made worse by brands who choose to also be culturally insensitive when releasing their products to the general public.
It sends out the message that without understanding the meaning and significance of the item, it is reduced to fast fashion that can be worn at festivals. There is small relief in the fact that festival owners are taking notice of this and making moves to put a stop to it. Festivals such as Heavy Montreal, Bass Coast and Osheaga in Canada have imposed a ban on festival goers turning up with the Native American headdress whilst Glastonbury has restricted the sale of the headdress at their festival. It is a move in the right directions and shows the general public the intolerance for cultural insensitivity. Despite this, many continue to wear some sensitive items without acknowledging any such controversy.
So when choosing to be creative and go all out at your choice of festival this year, stick to the staples and…
Denim Cut offs
For any girl, this is the best go to for a festival. They cause the least amount of stress when you are dancing, in the middle of that mosh pit or crowd surfing. Some may disagree because ‘everybody is wearing them’ but they are practical and so denim cut offs are here to stay for female festival goers.
A Sturdy Raincoat
If you are in the UK for any festival, regardless of what time of the year it is, just know it’s going to rain. Whether that may be
Which brings us right on to wellies, the staple for any festival goer. Whether it may be your finest Hunter wellies or just ones you picked up from Primark an hour before you set off, they are necessary unless you really want a severe case of trench foot.
DO NOT WEAR
Other people’s cultures
Whether it be a Native American headdress or bindis, it is not your fashion accessory.
All the mud and grass in this world, all over you. That’s what will happen. Unless you are Kylie Jenner or in the hospitality/VIP area of course.
Why? Because standing in heels all day is not fun.
Lastly, do take this all with a pinch of salt and wear whatever makes you feel comfortable, well, apart from the cultural appropriation.