Remake Ambassadors Erin Smith and Danii Mcletchie share their thoughts on festival fashion and its impact on overconsumption.
Ever since I was old enough to start watching YouTube, I anticipated that time of the year when all the fashion and beauty vloggers would post their coveted Coachella content and showcase their festival fashion.
The vloggers would film weeks-worth of preparation as they geared up for one of the largest, most famous, and most profitable music festivals in the world. Coachella regularly features some of the biggest names in music and has become a staple in pop culture. In the age of the influencer, Coachella is an epicenter of content creation with the goal of turning out never-before-seen looks. However, it’s not without its environmental drawbacks. Fashion Magazine states that, “every year, about 7.5 million festival outfits are single-use.”
Brands have caught on to this as well. H&M and ASOS “plan for months” in anticipation of the spike in shoppers they’ll receive during festival season. As consumers flock to trends, festivals have become a place where fashion experts and novices alike cultivate entirely new wardrobes, only to be worn once and tossed away.
In addition to the festival itself, influencers are also offered the opportunity to attend invite-only parties hosted by fashion retailers, such as Revolve, during the same weekend as the Coachella Festival. In an article by ViewtheVibe, the most notorious Coachella Weekend 1 party, aptly labeled the “Revolve Festival,” entertains a cornucopia of influencers alike. The Revolve Festival has morphed into an annual “hot-ticket weekend” as Revolve attempts to capitalize on Coachella’s credibility, exposure, and celebrity appearance by enticing influencers with their event held in the desert in close proximity to the famed music festival. Revolve Festival 2023 even saw music act performances from up and coming and established artists alike, with performances by 21 Savage, PinkPantheress, and the City Girls.
The Revolve Festival continues to generate an increased amount of social media buzz, with many media outlets, influencers and consumers opting to follow the happenings of the fashion festival over the original music festival, with the Wall Street Journal dubbing the festival “Coachella’s Most Lavish Party.” The Revolve Festival also racks in a massive amount of revenue for the brand. In April 2022, NBC News reported that, “Revolve customers and creators with smaller platforms were also invited to buy their tickets into the festival by spending at least $2,000 on the brand’s website.”
“Festival season has turned into more of a fashion show than a music festival. Brands then capitalize on this and come out with ‘festival lines/collections’ where they produce an absorbent amount of fast fashion that will rarely be worn more than once and most likely will end up in a landfill.”
Alesya Becker, a Remake Ambassador and recent college graduate, has worked in customer-facing retail positions for the last three years. As a lover of fashion and champion for sustainable living, she began to notice that she was becoming a part of the problem, and began doing everything to move forward to be part of the solution. Alesya began buying less, wearing longer and recycling her fabrics. Adopting the motto that “something new from old can always spring.”
As a fellow Ambassador and sustainable fashion enthusiast, Alesya and I spoke for this article, and about the dangerous overconsumption often seen at these legendary events.
What do you think of music festivals and festivals in general?
Alesya: I saw a video on TikTok of an influencer saying that a lot of influencers will go to the desert during festival season just to take a picture in their outfit and then go home. Festival season has turned into more of a fashion show than a music festival. Brands then capitalize on this and come out with ‘festival lines/collections’ where they produce an absorbent amount of fast fashion that will rarely be worn more than once and most likely will end up in a landfill. Then they’ll get influencers to promote them and it has a trickle down effect on their followers who will purchase the items.
I saw another video last year during Coachella where an influencer said her top broke and she just threw it out in the trash. These pieces are not made to last, which then leads to consumers buying more without questioning why their clothing is made so poorly. It is frustrating watching fast fashion brands capitalize on the consumer culture, especially when a lot of the blame gets pushed on the individual more than the corporations themselves.
Why aren’t people re-wearing more of their festival outfits?
Alesya: People aren’t re-wearing more of their festival outfits because the clothes are made with cheap fabric that falls apart and won’t last for more than one festival. They’re not made to last. Another reason may be because it’s becoming on-trend to not repeat outfits and instead have a brand new look everyday during a festival.
Why is Coachella considered the “Influencer Olympics”? And why is that a dangerous comparison?
Alesya: Coachella is considered the “influencer olympics” because it’s all about having the best photo in the best outfit. This is a dangerous comparison because it’s promoting fast fashion. Influencers are so focused on their outfit that they don’t care where it came from, who made it, what it’s made of, and where it will end up, which is most likely a landfill. Brands have played into this by having their own “festivals” in conjunction music festivals (i.e. Revolve Festival).
What should consumers know about these brands that are promoting “Festival Collections”?
Alesya: Festival season is an opportunity for brands and retailers to drop special collections. For example, 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, California and Hangout Music Fest in Gulf Shores, Atlanta. 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.
In keeping up with the latest trends and themes of each festival, many consumers and festival-goers opt to shop at fast fashion stores like SHEIN, Boohoo and NastyGal. As festivals have become an established summer activity, these brands continue to capitalize on the fad of festival wear, promoting “festival collections” on their websites to make finding the right fridge shorts or cowboy boots even more accessible. Brands like Revolve, Princess Polly, and Boohoo, among many others, open the “festival shops” just as festival enthusiasts are attempting to assemble their showstopping look.
Festivals have become a breeding ground for overconsumption, massive amounts of waste and reliance on fast fashion. The increase of rampant consumerism seen during the summer months often due to these festivals prove to be harmful to our planet and those that make our clothes. As consumers and fashion fanatics we must urge ourselves to choose more sustainable options in the hopes of diminishing our carbon footprint.
Turning single-use festival fashion into long-lasting pieces
Festivals are vibrant celebrations filled with color, music and elaborate costumes. However, once the festivities are over, many people are left with beautiful but seldom-used costumes. Instead of stashing them away in storage, why not breathe new life into these pieces and create unique feather earrings? As the founder of Carnicycle, a brand that upcycles Carnival-wear, I’ll guide you through the exciting process of upcycling your carnival costume into stunning feather earrings. By giving your costume a second chance, you’ll not only reduce waste but also add a touch of carnival flair to your everyday style.
To get started, gather the following materials:
Carnival/ Festival costume or costume feathers
Beads from costume
Hot Glue Gun
Step 1: Select Feathers and Beads
Inspect your costume and identify feathers and beads that are in good condition. Look for vibrant, intact feathers that can be easily detached. Using your hands, carefully detach the selected feathers from your costume. Be gentle to avoid damaging the feathers. Ensure that each feather is cleaned and free from any attachments or adhesives.
Step 2: Detach Feathers Strands from the base of Feather
Using your hands, carefully detach the strands of the feather from its base.
Once finished, you should have a set of strands for both pairs of earrings.
Step 3: Prepare Feather Strands for Earrings
Line up the top of your feather strands and then using your glue gun, insert a pea-sized amount of glue into the center of the top of the strands. As the hot glue is cooling, press the glue into the base of the feather strands to combine them together.
Step 4: Prepare Bead Cap
Take your eyehook and feed it into your bead/bead cap from your costume.
Step 5: Attach Feathers to Earring Hooks
Once you’ve prepared your earring hooks or studs, it’s time to attach the feathers. Insert hot glue into your bead and then carefully press the feather onto the adhesive, ensuring it is firmly attached. Allow the glue to dry completely before moving on to the next step.
Step 6: Shape Hook and Add Personal Touches (Optional)
Using your pliers shape the end of the eyehook into a hook. If you want to add a personalized touch to your feather earrings, you can incorporate more beads or other embellishments. Experiment with different bead colors, shapes, and sizes to create a unique design that complements your feathers.
By upcycling your carnival costume into feather earrings, you can repurpose a cherished piece of clothing and create a beautiful accessory that captures the spirit of the carnival year-round. These unique earrings will not only serve as a stylish addition to your wardrobe but also carry the memories and vibrancy of carnival celebrations. Embrace your creativity, reduce waste, and enjoy the satisfaction of giving new life to your cherished costume.