The annual Coachella Valley Arts and Music Festival is finally here, kicking off today in Indio, CA for weekend #1. And while this year’s impressive line-up features some of music’s biggest heavyweights, like Radiohead, Lady Gaga and Kendrick Lamar, Coachella has become known for not only its stellar music, but also for ostensibly helping to generate the “festival fashion” style and phenomenon that makes it way to style blogs and fashion retailers each spring.
So what exactly is “festival style?” Think modern-day bohemia styles with retro detail and personalized, eclectic accents. The music and art festival is one of the best places to really show off your personal style and get creative with looks that perhaps aren’t wearable in everyday life, but when in the desert, why not?
However, while mainstream, trend-oriented giants offer inexpensive festival-wear, these retailers are often associated with poor ethical manufacturing and labor practices, and weak considerations for sustainability. Music festivals came into existence during the 1960s era of cultural and political revolution, committed to advocating for peace and love, and have been historically associated with anti-war and pro-environment sentiments.
Coachella and other modern music festivals are clearly guided by the ethos of veteran music festivals like Woodstock, so there’s no reason why your festival attire shouldn’t be purchased from fashion companies making a stand in ethical fashion endeavors and giving back to their communities. Two brands that epitomize effortless festival fashion and making a firm commitment to ethical fashion, are Spiritual Gangster and Strange Swimwear.
1. Spiritual Gangster
BUY: Spiritual Gangster Logo Waistband Pant, $12.00 | Spiritual Gangster Henna Hamsa Army Jacket, $149.00 | Spiritual Gangster Salute the Sun Zen Tee, $65.00 | Clae Bradley Sneakers, $130.00 | Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Instant Film Camera, $99.99
Spiritual Gangster is a lifestyle clothing brand inspired by “yogi’s, athletes, artists, and musicians,” that aims to “join ancient wisdoms with modern culture,” through their unique and ultra-wearable collection of yoga attire, graphic T-shirts, jackets, and more.
Their artistic-meets-Zen motto lines up seamlessly with the music festival sentiments. In particular, Coachella brings attendees a variety of exhibitions and fun activities aside from the music performance, including free yoga classes, art exhibitions and site-specific installation work from up-and-coming artists. Like Coachella, Spiritual Gangster is also committed to sustainability and eco-friendly practices when it comes to design and apparel manufacturing. And, as if their commitment to eco-friendly best practices wasn’t impressive enough, the LA-based brand also donates a meal to a person in need using funds from each item purchased.
2. Strange Bikinis
The next brand to know for Coachella is the one-woman operation, Strange Bikinis, owned and designed by Ali Conway. Conway hand sews each bikini in Nevada, ensuring quality construction and unique design in every piece. But, if you don’t want to whip out the swimwear and sunbathe at the plethora of pool parties this weekend, Strange Bikini’s adorable graphic verbiage tanks will certainly generate a buzz, working well paired under rock-and-roll denim jackets for Indio’s notoriously unpredictable night-time weather.
Like Spiritual Gangster, Conway is dedicated to practicing ethical manufacturing and labor, regardless of higher costs. In an interview posted to her blog, the designer says, “I really value people’s time and I would never feel comfortable knowing blood, sweat and tears went into a Strange Bikini. Bikinis are happy and so should be the team behind them!” In addition, she makes sure to keep things small-business and in-house (including wholesale and sample productions).
*BONUS: Use code STRANGESPY at checkout for 10% off orders on Strangebikinis.com*
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