Festival fashion season is under way.
Coachella, held over two weekends on April 14-16 and April 21-23 in Indio, Calif., was home to tried-and-true festival garb like denim cutoff shorts and jean jackets, crop tops and bohemian accessories. Ongoing Western trends co-mingled with elements of Y2K fashion’s penchant for sparkle and ultra-feminine details.
Trendalytics named utilitarian hardware details, sheer knits, retro sunglasses and cowboy boots as key items at Coachella 2023. Influencers including Alix Earle, Dixie D’Amelio and Danielle Bernstein endorsed these picks with “modern boho meets edgy punk style,” according to the analytics platform.
Bodycon silhouettes with cutouts and knots, lace, corset tops and coordinating sets were popular with festival goers, while celebrities from Hailey Bieber to Kendall Jenner turned up in “quiet luxury” looks consisting of jeans and tees.
The planning that goes into festival outfits is part of the event buildup, so much so that many online dubbed Coachella “the Met Gala for influencers” this year. One week prior to Coachella 2023, Trendalytics reported that online searches for “coachella outfit” were up 94 percent compared to last year.
Brands are allotting major marketing dollars to music festivals.
Levi’s kicked off the first of five global music festivals in Los Angeles last month as the global partner of Rolling Loud, the world’s largest hip-hop festival. The year-long partnership coincides with the 150th anniversary of the Levi’s 501 and the 50th anniversary of hip-hop.
Along with pre-festival activities at the Levi’s Haus of Strauss in Los Angeles, festivalgoers got to customize Levi’s x Rolling Loud merchandise at an onsite Tailor Shop.
While Levi’s has partnered with other musical festivals in the past, such as Coachella and South by Southwest, the company said this partnership is the “first of its kind in terms of scale, providing an exciting opportunity to engage with our consumers and their passions.”
During Coachella, Los Angeles-based Guess hosted a luxury experience for influencers at the Guess Originals Compound, a cluster of villas near the event.
TikTok stars David Dobrik and Alix Earle, and their friends, flew on private jets—decked out with Guess branding—to the compound. There, Guess hosted dinners with other influencers and dished out free Guess merchandise including varsity jackets and sunglasses. The weekend also included a “wellness day” with IV therapy and smoothies.
Paris Jackson was among the celebrities and influencers who hung out at Lucky Brand’s Desert Mirage activation. Guests at the one-day popup enjoyed free beauty treatments, custom chain-stitched tees, drinks by Kendall Jenner’s 818 Tequila brand and a performance by “ABCDEFU” singer Gayle.
Chicago, Palm Springs and Austin may be key U.S. destinations during festival season, but most festival fans live outside those state lines. Fashion retailer Boohoo reports that Wisconsin, Ohio and Louisiana are the most “festival-obsessed” states based on Google Trends data for the past year for search terms used by festivalgoers.
The study revealed that Wisconsin ranks as the most festival-obsessed state, topping the list with a score of 602—40 percent greater than the national average. Its population has the highest search levels for “festival” and “festival near me,” indicating a higher percentage of its population actively searching for festivals than other states. Wisconsin also has the eighth-highest searches for the phrase “summer festival.”
Ohio ranks as the second most festival-obsessed state, with a total score of 594. Ohioans, however, want to stay close to home. The state has the highest proportion of its population searching for the term “festivals” and “festivals near me.”
As home to more than 400 festivals, Louisiana ranks as the third most festival-obsessed state, Boohoo reported. It’s also one of the most fashion-conscious attendees. Louisiana has the second-highest search levels for “festival outfits.”
Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Vermont, Michigan, and Colorado rounded out the top 10 list. Boohoo said “states known for partying” and that have well-known festivals such as Nevada, Texas and Florida didn’t make the list because people there don’t need to do as much festival research online.
Designed for festivals
Festival season is an opportunity for brands and retailers to drop special collections.
Shein teamed with country singer Priscilla Block on a capsule collection inspired by the singer’s personal style. It also features the pieces she’ll wear during her upcoming performances at Stagecoach in Indio, Calif. from April 28-30 and Hangout Music Fest in Gulf Shores, Ala. from May 19-21.
The collection is a marriage of Western and Y2K trends. It includes mesh tops, fringe-embellished silver hot pants, PU leather coordinates and fluorescent bikinis for sizes XS-L and 1XL-4XL. Denim anchors the collection. Two-tone black skinny jeans are shredded. Denim shackets are chopped and embellished with fringe. Denim shorts span ripped and raw hems, block fringe, buckle details and pearl and stud embellishments.
Consumers can shop the collection by category, size or lyric. “Playin’ Pool”—a line from Block’s song “Off The Deep End”—directs shoppers to swimwear, while “Everything’s Better On a Dance Floor” highlights the collection’s numerous fringe styles.
Brands and retailers are promoting festival edits in email marketing and on their websites.
Lace trousers, crochet mini dresses, mirror disc chain tops are among the skin-revealing items that Boohoo is designating as must-haves for festival season. Minimalist pieces include black bandeau tops and shoulder-pad T-shirt dresses.
Men’s ripped-knee slim jeans by Purple Brand, Levi’s 501 Original cutoff shorts and Edikted’s low-rise pleated miniskirt, flare-leg denim jumpsuit and cargo jeans are part of Nordstrom’s assortment of “made for mainstage” apparel and accessories.
Cargo styles, in general, are piping hot. Pacsun is promoting denim and cargo styles alongside bright cutout swimsuits from its Storm Reid x Pacsun swimwear collaboration. The retailer is encouraging consumers to follow #pacfamily on social media for more festival fashion inspiration.
Revolve sorts its festival merchandise into seven thematic categories: pool parties, crafty crochet, femme bohème, ’90s minimalism, cowboy couture, Y2K futurism and denim domination.
“Jeans are working overtime this season from jackets and skirts to shoes and bags that will carry you all through the festival grounds,” Revolve states.
With Rag & Bone’s Miramar relaxed jogger, Free People’s Ziggy shortall and Etica’s cropped jean jacket, Revolve speaks to pragmatic festival goers. The e-tailer offers a broad range of versatile straight, baggy, cropped and flare blue jeans, as well as jean shorts from Superdown, Mother, Agolde and Grlfrnd.
Bodycon pieces are growing more relevant, however. Revolve denim assortment also includes corset tops in a variety of washes from OW Collection, Miaou and Bardot, crystal-trimmed halter tops and miniskirts by Beach Riot, Bronx and Banco’s lace-up midi dress.
The head-to-toe denim theme is carried down to 3Juin’s platform sandals, Jeffrey Campbell’s alt-rock bootie and Steve Madden’s thigh-high boot with cargo pockets.