Students share what goes into festival fashions

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Julia Patterson | The Daily Wildcat

Students Julia Patterson and Emily Looney pose in front of the Ferris wheel at Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California on Saturday, April 15. The two are roommates and went to the festival together.

Every April thousands of students rush to California for a weekend filled with music, celebrities and adventure at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio.

After purchasing a ticket, finding a place to stay and arranging transportation, festival-goers are only beginning with their weekend preparations.

Although Coachella is widely known for showcasing a variety of big-name music stars, such as this year’s performances by Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar and Martin Garrix, the festival is also recognized for the audience's fashion ensembles.

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Julia Patterson, a freshman pre-business major, went to Coachella for the first time last weekend and said she spent approximately $400 preparing her outfits for the weekend.

“One of my outfits was $150, and I bought a dress that was $170 that I didn’t even end up wearing," Patterson said.

Fashion at Coachella may be important to those who attend, but students have differing opinions on why festival-goers put so much effort into their looks.

Patterson attributes the elaborate outfits to the idea that Coachella has a reputation for being a “high fashion hippie festival” and everyone wants to dress to that theme.

“People spend money on these outfits, because they want to look trendy and act like they didn’t take much time to put it together, but these outfits are hard to put together," Patterson said.

Bobby Cuillo, a freshman pre-business major, is planning to attend weekend two of Coachella. He considers the Coachella fashion trends to be a representation of the freedom of expression that is encouraged within the festival.

“I think since it is such a diverse group of singers, people are able to express themselves however they want without being judged," Cuillo said.

Cuillo said he spent about $100 on his Coachella wardrobe and explains that men’s outfits at Coachella also follow the festival theme.

Julia Patterson | The Daily Wildcat

Julia Patterson, a pre-business freshman, enjoys sunshine and music at weekend one of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California on Saturday, April 15.

“I think the biggest trends in men’s fashion for Coachella would be the distressed look with cut off tank tops and Camelback backpacks," he said.

Accessories are key at Coachella and men’s accessories are no exception.

“Guys will wear a bandana because the dust comes in when the wind starts blowing,” Cuillo says. “But as far as accessories go I’m just wearing sunglasses and necklaces.”

Patterson’s must-have Coachella accessories can be functional and fashion forward.

“You definitely need a purse, a scarf or bandana and lots of water," she said.

If you didn’t attend Coachella this year, you can live vicariously through your friends who went just by scrolling through Instagram. With Instagram feeds full of festival-goers decked out in fringe and flower crowns surrounded by people and palm trees, some may wonder if the trendy outfits are for Coachella or Instagram.

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“It’s all about the Instagram,” Patterson said. “But I wouldn’t say it takes away from the music, because even though people take pictures and go around Coachella and pose in front of stuff, they still go to the tents and listen to the music.”

April has rightfully been deemed festival season as Coachella claims two consecutive weekends and StageCoach, which takes place the following weekend at the same site in Indio.

Festival season isn’t only felt by those lucky enough to attend but can be noticed across campus. Even businesses, such as the boutiques on University Boulevard, may alter their selection to fit the trends for festival season.

Courtney Nash, a junior majoring in retail and consumer sciences, has worked at Boutique 816 and Collette Clothing on University Boulevard for a year and a half and has seen festival seasons come and go bringing new trends for students to find close to campus.

“The biggest Coachella trend this year is definitely crochet tops, which is similar from last year, along with strappy sandals, bralettes, crop tops and everything distressed denim,” she said. “For accessories, people always come in for the big cheap sunglasses that they can ruin.”

When buying the merchandise to sell in store for festival season the boutiques only order the items about a week or two in advance or bring them back directly from buying in Los Angeles.

“We’re able to focus highly on festival season right away,” Nash said. “At the beginning of April we go on a buying trip and buy 75 percent specific for festival season and 25 percent for basics and other events coming up such as graduation.”

Nash notices changes in the trends for festival season year to year. She said more people are going to festivals each year because they are becoming more popular, so people might be shopping last minute because they may go to the festivals last minute.

“With that they’re coming in two to three days before they go and panicking and trying to get anything that fits and is somewhat trendy, whereas I think in the past it was more of an exclusive thing to go to so you put a lot of time and money into it," Nash said.

With weekend two of Coachella quickly approaching, festival season is nearing its end. Whether you’ll be dancing to the beats of DJ Snake in Coachella Valley this weekend or making your own dance party in your dorm room, stock up on your favorite festival fashions while you can.


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