The Whys Behind Festival Fashion

The summer music festival season has begun, with Millennials poring over their newsfeeds in anticipation of the festivities. It’s debatable as to whether these events are still about the music, or have instead become an avenue for Millennials to see and be seen. Festivals have grown from a music outlet to a snapshot of youth culture. Nowhere is this more evident than with the unique rules at play when it comes to festival fashion. Festival wear is distinctly different, as girls flock to outdoor venues draped in Grecian-inspired maxi dresses, flower-crown headpieces, face paint, day-glo crop tops, and daisy duke jean shorts. When teens are seen dressed in neon spandex from head to toe in the NYC subway, it is clear that they are probably headed to the Electric Daisy Carnival. But despite the fact that the media will use photos of Millennials in Coachella garb to represent the everyday youth population, Millennials obviously aren’t wearing the full-on festival ensembles in their daily lives. Today we’re looking closer at the difference between festival and street fashion to figure out what it all means to Millennials. 

Late teen and twenty-something Millennials have reached the age of self-discovery at a difficult time. Many college grads have moved back home and are finding it difficult to secure full-time employment in today’s saturated job market, leaving them in limbo between independence and the inability to support themselves financially. Music and fashion have always provided the ultimate escape from the stresses of daily life, and now more than ever Millennials need this escape. For them, festivals have become an escapist showcase, a creative display far outside the realm of normal life. Whether for a couple of hours or several days, festivals allow attendees to step into a…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“As a graphic designer, without the arts being available to me in school I would have been lost as a child and where to take my career path. The fact that schools are cutting art programs is heartbreaking.”—Female, 24, NJ

Applebee’s is putting down the sriracha and giving up on trying to appeal to Millennials. The brand has decided their newer menu items—like a “triple pork bonanza” sandwich—and attempt at a “modern bar and grill” reinvention has “alienate[d]” Boomers and Gen Xers. They’re shutting down more than 130 restaurants and bringing back initiatives from before their attempted “pendulum swing towards millennials,” all-you-can-eat specials and 2-for-$20 deals. Other brands are creating new spin off chains to appeal to fast-casual lovingMillennials, that “[lack] the associated baggage of the old.” (Inc, NPR)

Adults-only ball pits, bouncy houses, and giant slides are sweeping the U.K. Millennials seeking a break from adulthood are flocking to places like Wacky World’s “massive bouncy-castle obstacle course,” which started out as a children’s event. The founder received so many requests that now every event has an 18-and-over slot, and has expanded to 19 cities. This “trend for arrested development activities” is caused by nostalgia, but the influx of marketing and branding leveraging the emotion could be popularizing these playgrounds for adults. (The Guardian)

Facebook is responding to the trend of asking for birthday charitable donations by integrating it right into the platform. Users in the U.S. can now trade in all the “HBD”s they get on Facebook for donations to the cause of their choice: well-wishers will be notified of the birthday along with the selected non-profit, and get the chance to donate. Facebook will ask users which charity they wish to dedicate their day to two weeks in advance, allowing them to choose from 750,000 organizations. (TNW)

Appear Here is the Airbnb of pop-up shops, giving brands their perfect temporary store for the new era of retail. The company finds short term retail space, and has worked with big-name brands like Nike and Net-a-Porter to open “experimental activations” or “test new products.” As brick-and-mortar continues to suffer and long-term stores close, Appear Here says physical retail is still needed, but to “tell a story.” The pop-up industry was valued at $50 billion in 2015, and provides a more low-risk, flexible option to avoid the retail wasteland. (Glossy)

Millennials & Gen Z are turning a profit online and on mobile by re-selling their retail. Thredup, Poshmark, and Depop are just a few of the most popular brands cashing in on the resale economy’s $18 billion market, and some shoppers say they are making $300 a week on the platforms. Some are also using social to sell, often in conjunction with apps or sites, including Snapchat, Facebook Groups, and Instagram. College students on a budget are reportedly especially drawn to resale, thanks to convenience, value, and access to luxury at a lower price. (FN)

“Adult means being entirely independent. I pay my own bills, make all decisions in my life, and feel very in control.”—Male, 20, NY

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