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What Does Coachella Mean for Summer Denim Trends?

Where could one wear a PrettyLittleThing mid wash denim knicker? At Coachella, naturally.

The California music festival in the desert, responsible for putting cutoff jean shorts, Teva sandals and fanny packs back on the fashion radar, returns Friday for two weekends chockfull of eccentric fashion pairings.

The $20 denim thong with a “flattering high rise style” is sold out, but there are plenty of denim statements to be made at festival.

After all, Coachella girls dress to be photographed. “They want to stick out,” Vanessa Weste, Fashion Snoops youth and street style director, said. “With festival fashion, people aren’t confined to a box. It’s where they can really shine,” she explained.

Whereas the global fashion weeks is a free-for-all for the fashion elite to don their designer goods, Coachella is a place for the young (and young at heart) to let loose, which has yielded more fun and inventive fashion.

“It’s a different flock. They’re younger and edgier,” Weste said. And even if Coachella, which has become inundated with brand activations and influencers, feels overexposed now, Fashion Snoops said there are plenty of smaller festivals popping up that are inspiring revelers to take their fashion to the next level, too.

So, what’s in store for Coachella 2018, besides the return of Beyoncé, a performance by a pregnant Cardi B and denim thongs?

To begin with, bohemian fashion—the perennial Coachella uniform—has been pushed aside for ’90s influences, Weste said. The shift began last season and is expected to pick up momentum as old-school brands like Levi’s, Carhartt, Adidas and Tommy Hilfiger ramp up efforts to tap into the Gen Z base. In fact, the collision of streetwear and festival fashion should result in some interesting combinations.

Bermuda shorts and high-rise jean shorts, styled with crop tops and bodysuits, are replacing denim cutoffs. Oversized or cropped jean jackets will also make a play. Fashion Snoops said the staple has evolved from its traditional form to new shapes with extra volume in the shoulders. Likewise, denim vests are on the horizon, updated with voluminous silhouettes. The Trucker vest is a key option and a new alternative for the desert.

Vests also fit in neatly with the Western trend, which Fashion Snoops identified as one of the major runway themes that will carry into mainstream fashion. The new way to wear western is rougher than previous seasons’ panache for flowy, boho romance.

And while vintage washes will continue to serve their purpose, Weste expects to see more acid washes and bleached denim. Deconstructed denim also remains strong, and embellishments, be it raw edges or other fanciful novelties, aren’t going away any time soon. In fact, ’90s-era glitter coatings, embroidered flowers, daisy motifs and painted illustrations will make an appearance.

With headliners like Beyoncé, Eminem and The Weeknd, Coachella 2018 may be the first festival in a while where the performers outshine the street style. However, Weste added that festival-goers are likely to turn up in the best Ivy Park pieces, Beyoncé’s athleisure line.

All of this is pulled together with hair styles that are inspired by ’90s pop culture like Gwen Stefani’s double buns and headpieces that resemble jewelry. “The flower crowns are gone,” Weste quipped.

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