Whilst normal festivals call for rain-macs and backpacks, Coachella is different. Hosted in sunny California, Coachella plays on its own unique combination of astounding budgets and influencer heavy attendance to create an atmosphere so focused on standing out that no one would dare wear anything less than luxury. It’s basically festival fashion for the super rich, so why is it just not hitting this year?
Coachella is exactly what you’d expect to get when you host a festival for the insanely wealthy: sparkling porta-loos, $64 iced coffee, and diamond encrusted wellies. Since its conception, the festival has built a carefully curated reputation for hosting everyone who is anyone. You’d be hard pressed to not find a celebrity in the crowds, queueing for overpriced burritos or bouncing to Calvin Harris. However, it may be Coachella’s influencer and celebrity domination that’s caused its own downfall.
The high quantity of photos churned out at Coachella which seem to infect our feeds every April (minus in Covid times when it was cancelled, much to Vanessa Hudgens‘ dismay) have succeeded in cultivating the depiction of a well-rounded Coachella-aesthetic. (Coachella-core, if you will.) This is a style dominated by crochet bralettes, cowboy hats, and Boho inspired wraps; it’s as easily identified as it is replicated, and some are arguing that it’s Coachella’s intense branding that’s led to the festival’s fashion flopping in 2023.
Coachella used to be a festival that pushed influencers and celebrities to dress their best, to try new things, experiment with Bohemian, outlandish, and quirky styles that they wouldn’t normally wear. Whilst other festivals called for hoodies and waterproofs, Coachella encouraged dressing not only to watch the main-stage but also to dance on it. However, one TikTok user (@geminigal99) used the phrase “Coachella themed outfits” to describe what we’re seeing at the festival this year, and they might have a point.
With the saturation of Coachella pics we see every year, the Coachella aesthetic has come to be too well-recognisable, meaning that instead of attendees dressing in crazy, unique styles, they’re now all copying the same simple formula. Coachella used to push people to the max; now it comes with a basic “How To” guide for dressing exactly the same.
What this shows is that creating a festival specifically for influencers doesn’t actually garner the most adventurous outfits. Like a paradox, eventually the influencers will start inadvertently influencing themselves, meaning Coachella fashion is unable to progress and gets stuck in the same loop that was created in 2017. Arguably, the best festival fits come from the people who aren’t influencers or influenced; the people who are dressing for themselves rather than for an IG feed or to fit an aesthetic. Let’s hope to see more of them next year.
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