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Image / Style / Fashion

Are people becoming jaded by the pressure to perform come festival season?


By Sarah Gill
06th May 2022

Instagram/ @amberasaly

Are people becoming jaded by the pressure to perform come festival season?

After Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, it seems like festival fashion is more up in the air than ever before.

Last month, a grand total of 750,000 people descended on the Colorado Desert in California for the return of Coachella. A festival like none other, it’s long been recognised as an opportunity for influencers and celebrities to see and be seen.

Beginning back in 1999 as a low-key indie music festival, Coachella sank into the public consciousness circa 2010, when Vanessa Hudgens made crochet cool again and boho chic reigned supreme. Now, more of a phenomenon than a multi-weekend event, the festival has evolved in line with social media and has become a case and point example of performative fun.

Across the board, personal style seems to disappear once festival season rolls around. When Coachella began to grow in popularity, there was a laid back functionality to the style seen around the festival. From 2011 onward, long-flowing bohemian dresses, combat boots and extensive accessorising took hold. Think cowboy hats, layers and layers of jewellery and a bandana or two.

Quickly surpassing musical festival status, Coachella became its own genre of clothing. Informing subsequent festivals around the world, the trickle down effect throws the entire concept of personal style out the window once festival season rolls around each year.

A far cry from the Irish festivals we’re used to, Coachella prompted quite the departure from the shorts and wellies usually opted for when splashing around in the Stradbally muck. Since the average Joe can’t afford celebrity stylists and designer garments, fast fashion brands churning out poorly-made knockoffs bridge the gap.

Ushering in an era of single use fashion, The Business of Fashion reports 173% more apparel being added across Boohoo, H&M, ASOS and Nasty Gal come festival season. Not exactly the most sustainable way of kitting yourself out. As with any and all trend-led purchases, these pieces will likely end up in landfill or on a rail in a charity shop by the end of the summer.

However, 2022’s Coachella is shaking things up a little. While we may have thought that being locked away during the pandemic would give festival goers a renewed sense of excitement at the prospect of wowing onlookers, it seems to be quite the opposite.

In a surprising departure from the previously contrived statement looks worn by the well-known names in attendance, many opted instead for a more subdued, understated and — wait for it — wearable looks.

Maintaining the comfort-is-key vibe that many of us grew accustomed to during lockdown, sweatpants and vest tops were out in force during Coachella. Kendall Jenner, Hailey Bieber and Emma Chamberlain can all be seen keeping it casual, while Dixie D’Amelio brought things back to basics with a double denim moment.

Items that can be worn and re-worn time and time again, even the lauded queen of Coachella Vanessa Hudgens kept it low-key while remaining true to her roots. A vibrant colour, flowy trousers and a crochet bralette, the look remains timeless.

While there were many celebrities, influencers and performers in attendance who didn’t hold back when it came to making a fashion statement, this year’s Coachella festival left us with an altered perception of what festival fashion really means.