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From Woodstock to Glastonbury: How Festival Fashion Has Changed

Posted on April 20 2018

The sun’s out and festival season is only a month or two away. This can only mean one thing – it’s time to start thinking about our summer wardrobes!

For a while now, festivals have been the place to go if you want to witness trend changes and the latest ‘in’ clothing. From Woodstock in the 60s to Glastonbury in the 90s, the items people pack for their weekends of music and partying in fields differ hugely.

With the appearance of the sun and as the summer seems within reaching distance now, I thought it would be fun to explore some of these developing trends over time. It’s also interesting to note how many of these fads have made an appearance in people’s wardrobes recently too!

Woodstock – 1960s

The Woodstock festival of 1969 arguably defined the ‘look’ of the whole generation. The trends seen at the festival marked a new, care-free approach to fashion, with bright colours and psychedelic patterns everywhere.

Many festival-goers almost completely opted out of clothing for the duration of the weekend (!), but those who did choose to wear clothes wore tie-dye t-shirts, kimonos, head scarves, and beautiful flower crowns.

Trends like flower crowns and kimonos have actually stuck around, and you can see plenty of women rocking similar outfits at Glastonbury in the 21st century.

Men wore cut-offs, which was considered pretty bizarre back then, and women wore floaty tops and bikinis. From huge, shapeless dresses to shorts and bikini tops, a key trend seemed to be to either cover up and be comfortable or wear as little as possible.

The 100 Club Punk Special – 1970s

In 1976, the 100 Club in London hosted a two-day event with eight punk rock bands performing, which many people at the time hadn’t even heard of! This marked a move towards a more mainstream punk movement – and the fashion worn at the event showcases this wonderfully.

Festival goers looked completely different to those who attended Woodstock seven years previously. Distressed denim and leather trousers were everywhere, which was usually teamed with big, heavy biker boots, leather jackets, and safety pins as earrings.

Women wore fishnet tops or tights with leather skirts and boots. Dark makeup made for a dramatic look and was paired with heavily gelled hair – all of which can still be seen as part of gothic looks these days.

Live Aid – 1980s

In 1985, Bob Geldof organised a huge event to raise money for the Ethiopian famine. Many may not class it as a festival, but it was the best place to see many of the trends at the time.

Double denim and leather were huge even for people who didn’t know what punk was. Tartan was ‘in’ in a big way, along with velvet and shoulder pads.

The big one that many people remember is leg warmers – we have no idea why, but legwarmers were everywhere. Festivals attracted many legwarmer and eyeliner wearing Madonna fans, and some even went completely fluorescent in tutus and leotards.

Reading Festival – 1990s

In the 1990s, indie and grunge took over – and Reading Festival was the place to see it in it’s full glory.

Acts like the Rolling Stones and Nirvana were hugely popular, and Reading festival catered to this excellently in the early 90s.

The fashion that came with this new indie obsession was very chilled and laidback. The looks seen at Reading would be described as a ‘skater’ look today.

Flannel shirts, Converse, polo shirts, bleached denim, and woolly sweaters were everywhere, along with band t-shirts that were particularly prevalent at festivals.

Glastonbury Festival – late 1990s

The late 90s saw a similar fashion trend to the early 90s indie trend in that they were both very casual looks.

Glastonbury saw festival goers wearing big parka and trench coats, bucket hats, paisley shirts, denim jackets, and Fred Perry polos.

The band Oasis let the way in this fad, with Liam Gallagher seen wearing a big parka that would become a staple in his, and his fan’s closets for years to come.

V Festival – 00s

As we moved into the 21st century, we seemed to fully embrace a full summer of festivals, with much of our outfits including items that celebrated the sun being out (even if it wasn’t).

Denim shorts, maxi skirts and dresses, big sunglasses, and floral patterns were all worn to watch indie bands such as the Arctic Monkeys, the Killers, and the Strokes.

This was, of course, paired with a lot of sunburnt skin – but I’m sure this has always been a trend in Britain!

Coachella – 2018

The last weekend saw the latest Coachella festival and all the latest trends that came with it.

The flower crown, you’ll be pleased to know, is still going strong, as well as crop tops and short shorts. As well as these trends that have continued to thrive over the years, Hunter wellies, bomber jackets, and round sunglasses have all made a comeback.

These fashions were seen in the 90s and even before then – is it just a good style coming back into fashion, or have we ran out of trendy ideas?

If you’re looking to update your festival kit, we have plenty of items in our online shop. From jewellery to musical instruments, we’ve got you covered. 

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