Coachella Fashion Is Harming The Environment

Single-use festival apparel is wreaking havoc on the environment and you don’t have to dig too deep to find out why…

Don’t get me wrong: Coachella fashion has a lot to love. Where else would you see Harry Styles and Lizzo in matching pink feather outfits? Over-the-top attire has come to define the event, but this is beginning to change as many realise that Coachella fashion is unwearable, unaffordable and unrealistic.

That being said, a 2019 Censuswide survey (commissioned by British charity Barnardo’s) reported that single-use outfits for music festivals such as Coachella and Glastonbury account for approximately $307 million worth of items per year or about 7.5 million outfits worn only once.

We all know that fast fashion is terrible, it relies on the ethos of “more, more, more,” promising a plethora of new clothes with the most up-to-date designs at the lowest possible prices. We are sold the idea as consumers that we must constantly update our wardrobes to keep up with the latest trends and celebs, so we buy, use, and discard clothing as the seasons change. I’ll admit that I’ve had this unsustainable throwaway mentality in the past.

Music festival season is a big deal for musicians, influencers and the millions of people that attend them each year. Fast fashion retailers such as H&M, ASOS, Nasty Gal and Zara however, find it to be one of the most profitable seasons of the year. Most major fast fashion brands have complete collections focused on the festival aesthetic – and they are constantly updated. While everyone wants to look good and stand out, this can be a serious problem. Many of these clothing items are only intended for one use and, as a result, are only worn once or twice before being discarded.

Why aren’t people re-wearing their festival outfits more often? According to The Independent, Censuswide discovered that “one in four of those surveyed would feel embarrassed wearing an outfit to a special occasion more than once.” This negative viewpoint on ‘outfit repeating’ is spread by social media, where ensemble re-posts are avoided in order to keep a desired grid aesthetic and encourage audiences to shop more.

While the low cost makes wearing an outfit once financially viable, it is environmentally unviable and hugely damaging.  Do you have a festival outfit that you’ve worn only once? Don’t be troubled (yet). Try reviving the outfit by dressing it up or down with different accessories. Consider it an excellent opportunity to be creative and hone your styling abilities.

Tips On Embracing The Festival Season In A Sustainable Manner:

1) Upcycle Old Pieces: Like we mentioned above, you can try revamp your old outfits with pre-loved accessories such as bags, belts and more. However, upcycling your garments can also look like adding embellishments such as fringe, feathers, sequins and more, to give it that fun loving festival vibe.

2) Sell, Sell, Sell: I can’t judge, I’ve definitely bought things on a whim, worn it once and decided I didn’t like it. What I did: Sold my garments on Depop, Vinted, eBay and Vestiaire Collective. What I received: Money (!) and an alleviated guilty conscience. On a real note, selling preloved items isn’t an excuse to carelessly shop more but it can be a great way of repurposing clothes, and allowing someone else to put them to good use. You won’t feel the guilt of throwing away an item as it will be passed on to its next loving home.

3) Vintage: Similar to selling your clothes, you can try purchasing vintage items instead of buying new. . Charity shops are great places to start looking for late 90’s/ early 2000’s clothes and there are an increasing plethora of online vintage stores. You also may discover that you prefer vintage items just like Mrs. Bieber who was seen wearing vintage leather jackets (not once but twice) on Coachella Weekend 1.

Coachella may be over for this year, but festivals like Glastonbury and Wireless are still on the  way. If you’re looking for sustainable swaps here’s our top picks.

1) Enough Glitter to make the characters on Euphoria jealous: Festivals are one of the few, if not the only, places where a more-is-more style is welcomed. Pick up a pot of biodegradable glitter to make your outfit really stand out. This one by Eco Glitter Fun is not only cosmetic grade and sparkly but it’s also vegan and decomposable!


2) Trainers you can depend on: Introducing your new favourite pair of footwear. With these vegan leather platforms, RationL has perfected the classic, white trainer. Wear them with midi skirts, party dresses, jean shorts and so on. The point is that you can wear them with almost anything, plus they’re comfortable to wear all day long.


3) Dressed to kill: Before July crafts some of the hottest minis in the game. You’ll adore this ruched, purple mini dress and the detailing is to die for! Made with 100% cotton, this is a perfect choice for hot, summer festivals due to it being lightweight, breathable and perfect for soaking up sweat.


4) Shorts, shorts, shorts: Slip on these shorts and a white tee for an easygoing look with a pop of colour. These organic cotton Rogue Shorts are made ethically and sustainably and have a comfortable fit with double rolled legs and four jean buttons, as well as an awesome flash detail on the back pockets.


5) Comeback of the belt bags: This vegan leather belt bag is a festival fashion must-have, perfect for storing your blister plasters, lip balms, and phone safely and securely. Belt bags are a much safer alternative for festivals due to pickpockets; however, this stylish and neutral bag is perfect for any outfit.


We hope this article allows you to adopt a more environmentally friendly approach to your wardrobe whilst still enjoying the festival culture. Are you attending any festivals this year? If so, tag us on our Instagram @wearthlondon, we’d love to see your sustainable festival looks!