Image above: Secret Garden Party / Image below: Justine Trickett
Every year thousands of us will go to a festival. We eat there, drink there, sleep there, listen to music there and do a few other unprintable things during the course of our time at them, each to varying degrees. One other thing we all do, at least the vast majority anyway, is wear clothes, and the choices we make tend to say a lot about the type of festival person you are.
With that in mind we’ve picked five types of fashionista you are nailed on to see at festivals this summer, from those religiously on point, to the festival tribes to some you should probably avoid (and others embrace).
Those who wear their heart on the sleeve
This comes in many guises, with the most obvious being wearing your allegiances on your clothes. You can’t walk down your high street without seeing a band t-shirt, so at festivals this is absolutely rife, especially with the festival in question’s own merchandise.
Here you’ll notice wrists overgrown with bands alongside festival tees and hoodies from the previous year’s gatherings, as well as other events. There’s a spectrum to consider here as well, the further back in time these things go the higher the likelihood is the person wearing it will be extremely annoying.
No doubt someone will be slagging Kanye West off in a Glastonbury hoody from 1998 at Worthy Farm this summer; the year Robbie Williams headlined the Pyramid.
It's usually some kind of tour based garment and is their little way of letting you know just how much they love a band, something you should probably not get them started on (one of our staff’s earlobes have yet to recover after casually mentioning a passing interest in to an enthusiastic guy wearing a System of Down t-shirt at Reading).
Also if you’re wearing that band t-shirt because you think it looks cool, you run the risk of their mega-fan stalking you the entire weekend. Same goes for any band – your fashion choices carry even greater weight in these times.
Electronic music is no different either, with record label t-shirts from the likes of Hooj Choons and Warp de rigueur in the mid to late nineties, the latter still making an appearance these days.
There’s also been the rise of clothing companies inspired by DJs and clubnights, with Millionhands (check out Lee Foss in their Hot Creations sweater above) and Wasted Heroes making great rave ready gear that will, in the words of Alex Turner, look good on the dancefloor.
Those who opt for a practical rig-out
One of the great beauties of fashion is how well it adapts to the surroundings. Light linen shirts signify the style of hotter countries, whilst heavy work-wear is the choice of harsh winters on the streets of New York – for all it’s catwalk ridiculousness, fashion knows how to get functional. And what better environment than one almost certainly to involve mud and rain, as well as interchangeable weather?
It’s also no coincidence that the revival of rural brands like Barbour has mirrored the surge in festival popularity, with high profile fashion icons like Alexa Chung and Kate Moss leading the way with their Glastonbury attire fawned over in style mags and blogs weeks after the event’s finished.
That’s led to a festival style uniform which resembles a swagged out farmer - think waxed jackets and flashes of tweed - ditching the end war mantra of the hippies of the past for looking like someone who has just finished a fox hunt. Which is fine, as long as you don’t actually go around slaughtering animals with a guy called Tarquin.
There’s also the emergence of the pubescent hiker, teenagers dipped in UV paint and bedecked in Gore-Tex, North Face and a pair of Nike 110s (pretty much the staple at every Northern dance music festival).
All these and everyone else sane will agree a pair of wellies is an absolute must (usually Hunters, above), so much so that girls (and guys) who plan their outfit weeks in advance will still wear them even when a festival is a permanent heatwave.
The Eternal Optimist
Also known as the under-prepared. Fashion may have dictated a whole new set of rules which fit in with your style choices but that won’t stop good old Billy who knows something Michael Fish doesn’t - sunshine is coming.
There’s rivers of mud and more rain forecasted but they’re wading through it all in a pair of espadrilles, vest and sunglasses whilst clutching six pints of cider. Everyone is quick to judge this seeming idiot but secretly admires their unrelenting hedonism, and of all the festival heroes of recent times, this girl takes it just a bit too far.
The 70s reviver
Tassles, tie up tops and tan suede. It’s all making a comeback. The 70s were, of course, a pivotal time for festivals with Glastonbury just starting off. It was like, far out man, and everyone loved one another. Plus, the clothes were pretty amazing, reflected freedom and suited the environment to the ground - literally, there were flowers everywhere. In people’s hair, tops, pants. God knows where else they ended up.
Kendall Jenner and Vanessa Hudgens were championing the trend first with crochet tops and bell-bottoms at Coachella (see above). Expect to see plenty of those headbands that go across your fod as well, girls love them.
Flares aren’t made for wading in the mud though, so please think of the hems and dress responsibly.
The Fancy Dress Enthusiast
Nothing brings out the Great British imagination like fancy dress, and there’s nowhere better to indulge this party lifestyle than at festivals. For many gatherings it’s part of the programming, you’re more likely to look stupid in normal clothes at Bestival (where this year the theme is the Summer Of Love) and if you make it through Secret Garden Party (pictured below) without being covered in glitter you’ve not really enjoyed the festival for what it is.
Originality and imagination here are key, and it says everything about who you are by how much effort you put into your fancy dress. You’re bound to bump into, and then later avoid, the rowdy group of lads who look like they’ve stepped off a stag do from Marbella in French maid outfits.
Looking for some advice on the matter? We spoke with Scott Lewis, resident of Circus, on what it takes to get the perfect fancy dress costume, who has helped make the Liverpool clubnight’s Halloween parties legendary dressing up affairs.
To find your perfect get-together no matter what style you opt for this summer, check out our festivals guide.