Festival Fashion | The Cyclical Odyssey


With a wide span history of ever changing fashion fads, mishaps, and trends, the outdoor music festival has always played a major role in the fashion industry, often shaping a culture of what’s relevant in relation to the times.

1969 saw the emergence of the ‘Hippy’ surfacing at some of the most iconic festivals such as the ever life altering Woodstock Music Festival in Bethel, New York. Long beads, headscarves, tie-dyes and brown suede were the defining factor for the ‘Hippy’. A movement inspired and influenced under the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Joe Cocker, Santana and various other history makers.

1976, a year of riots, demonstrations, and humanitarian protests not only in an era of Apartheid in South Africa but this was also the age of the ‘Punk’ with key influences such as The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, and Blondie. Often regarded at a troubled youth this movement of fashion was accessorized by studs, Doc Martens, leather pants and ripped fishnet stockings. This was also a major breakthrough for Vivienne Westwood, one of history’s most influential and relevant (to this day) designers, instrumental in bringing Punk/New Wave fashion into the mainstream.

1985 and the make up is all the much brighter, the hair is all that much wilder, and the sex is even more crazier. A style known simply as 80’s fashion decorated by slouch socks, leotards, parachute pants, plaid skirts and oversized tees with notable influences by musicians such as David Bowie, Queen, and Elton John. It would come with no surprise if Michael Jackson and Duran Duran were your some favourite artists.

Fast forward to 1992, Reading Musical Festival, and Nirvana’s last ever show in the UK. Grunge is what the call it, with your flannel shirts, wool sweaters, black leather jackets, bright red lipstick, and acid washed denims amongst other items you were most definitely inspired by Pearl Jam, Courtney Love, and most probably Alice In Chains. Another notable highlight of this period was the introduction of ‘Grunge’ into the fashion world, by world renowned fashioner designer Marc Jacobs.

It’s interesting to note that Britain had a historical role in the fashion of many if not most outdoor musical festivals and times. 1996 brought about the ‘Brit Pop’ style of fashion with its paisley shirts, parka jackets, and denims. Musical influencers of the time were Oasis, Blur and others.

We’re now making our way into the millennium, 2004 and onwards where fashion styles changed quite frequently, every two years or so. Isle of Wight Festival in the UK was met with the Indie/Bohemian look, two years later and everyone has altered their style ever so slightly, some still holding onto the uniqueness of Indie but introducing what is known as New Rave – bright fluorescent colours, neon sweat bands, bright skinny jeans, and slogan tees. You were either really into The Smiths, Depeche Mode, or The Klaxons and New Young Pony Club; in reality you probably listened to them all.

The period of 2008 – 2011 was graced strongly by an urban chic and often ironic Hip Hop look and aesthetic to fashion. Nike Airs, snapbacks and puffer jackets were all the rage at Glastonbury when the very controversial Jay-Z headlined the festival, met with criticism by Noel Gallagher (Oasis) who stated that Hip Hop didn’t belong at the festival. Tommy Hilfiger was the designer of the time often being associated with urban style since early to mid 90’s. 2011, the age of the electronic, with the likes of Skrillex was much of the same as early urban style met with a more defined and finished fashion sense.

2013/2014 and it’s sad to say that we parade ourselves (including me at times) like a pool of regurgitated ideals, and sensibilities. It is common knowledge that fashion, as it has always stood, is a cycle of styles that revolve in and out of trend; with that being said, I often feel as if we are the generation of incest children when it comes to a historical sense of fashion in regards to the outdoor music festival.

As much as we would like for the unconventional and unprecedented to emerge, fashion is cyclical, and below are just some of the revisions of history you’re likely to encounter at Oppikoppi or any festival.

Hippie Pants / Tie Dye Bandanas.

“I am a vegetarian, but I still eat fish, I love the earth even though I have no input or involvement in green peace other than sharing an image or two on Facebook about buying a red plastic horn to put on the tow bar of my gas guzzling Toyota”

Hippie Festival Fashion

Pastel paisley shorts with printed Tee or Vest (Guys).

“Sun’s Out – Guns Out”

Suns Out Guns Out

Scissored Denim Shorts with Lace Vest or Faded American Over Shoulder Vest accessorised with sun hats, flowers wreaths in hair and ray bans.

“Oh My God, Avicii”

“Oh My God, Lorde”

“Oh My God, Lana Del Ray”

“Oh My God, Shortstraw”

Flower Hair

The Band Tee and Cargo Pant accessorised with Countless Bracelets (Unisex).

I respect you, you have probably have no sense of style, unkempt hair and a job as a entry level junior in retail but no fucks are given. You love your Lamb of God, Trivium, Nightwish or whatever shitty fading print is on your ageing black band tee.

Black Band Tee

The Sailor Hat or Animal Hat or any costumed head-gear.

A feeble attempt at striking conversation by ‘pea cocking’ for attention. Often used by over bearing males or really insecure females as a means to overcome social awkwardness.

Animal Hat

The Onesie

The number one obnoxious cockblock to drunken sex in your tent. You’re probably going to look fun and inviting albeit your onesie is a hot box of sweat, fart odours, and dingleberries (cos you’re obviously not wearing any underwear in there). The attractive cousin to the croc, one cannot forget that they are still family. Good for cuddling, but when you’re cuddling in a onesie at a music festival – you have more than likely been relegated to the Friendzone.




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Anxious | Creative | Depressive | Experimental Film Maker | Escapist | Ghost Wave | Photographer