Coachella fashion is, I suppose, a thing again. After a two-year hiatus, the festival is entering its second weekend with all the influencers and attendees showing off their cowboy boots, cut-off shorts and neon strappy tops, posing in front of a Ferris wheel, and generally looking very warm. I have no hate toward Coachella itself, and I've been a bunch of times. It was genuinely a wonderful experience that I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to go to. Still, it doesn't take away from the fact that more and more, the "fashion" coming out of the event is less want-to-be-quirky-and-experimental-eye-roll and more about what fast fashion trend can I get my hands on.
We're seeing trendy summery outfits worn by an impressively wide age range of attendees – there is a yellow two-piece set that I have seen on more people than I would have thought possible. It's also a prime example of how fast fashion uses influencers and social media to push trends and solidify their brands to the masses. Revolve, for example, hosted a big splashy party that, despite being compared to Fyre Festival because of the long lines for buses, resulted in top celebrities like Kendall Jenner wearing clothes sold on the site and posing in front of their branding. H&M is also doing the same thing with a smaller set of celebrities and influencers but still getting a massive bump from famous people promoting their summer line.
Of course, not all attendees are there to make content that's paid for, but many of them are still there for the fashion moment. According to data from ThredUp, "nearly half (42%) of this year's festival-goers say they plan to buy a new festival outfit. That's an estimated 26.9M outfits purchased for the return of festival season." Of those people, 1 in 3 say they'll only wear the outfit once. Millions of new outfits (likely bought through fast fashion brands) end up back on resale sites or, worse, in the garbage by the end of the month. It's another example of how fast fashion will use a tent pole like Coachella and market new clothing without care or responsibility for what happens to them.
So while we may have moved a little bit away from the problematic and appropriative fashion of Coachella's past, what we have now is a microcosm of fast fashion's grip on us. It's the idea that you need an outfit for one thing, and you take your picture, and you get your likes, and you never wear it again. I don't have an answer for exactly how we change this in one festival season, but on an individual level, it's good to recognize the trends as they're being pushed to you and then tossed out for the next thing two months later. If you see a lot of cut-out neon mini dresses as you search for summer clothes right now ... this might be why.
To end it on a positive note, there were plenty of fun outfits put together from people using vintage clothing and designers who make one-of-a-kind clothing, like Chanel Iman's Kelsey Randall chain link top.
What do you think about Coachella fashion this year? Let's talk about it in the comments.