Festival style was once a fabulous, fashionable accident – a stylish mash-up of muddy feet, pure hearts, and daisy chains; a captivating display of rock ‘n’ roll cool that only exists through an unselfconscious lack of trying.

“Cool” is a tricky commodity, by its very nature, unattainable and out of reach, held only by a select few, is completely immune to the power of its pull: the minute the masses grab hold, the cool dissolves.

Festival style has now become its own genre and a marketing gold mine. This standardised approach to festival dressing has rendered it somewhat contrived, as the effort required is the anti-thesis of the look itself, destroying the un-done don’t-give-a-damn appeal.

Festival fashion was born from the quintessential image of Kate Moss at Glastonbury 2005, a beautiful mess in hot pants, gumboots and a little black vest – prompting scores of Moss-loving festival attendees to follow suit. Replicate became the name of the game.

With retailers now releasing specific ranges targeting festival go-ers, this uniform approach to personal style has robbed the genre of its quirkiness. In the last decade we have ultimately seen festival style lose its magic.

It seems a pendulum swing against the same sameness is happening. Enter Splendour In The Grass 2016, the first festival to kick off the season – with it came a sweet relief in the style drought of the last few years.

The offerings this year were a far cry from what we have come to expect. There were no clones buzzing about in denim cut offs, rather it was one, big, colourful runway: artistic, inspired, original. Freak flags were flying high, it was all about each to their own, about flounce, fun and fearless individuality.

In short, not one trend stood out as ‘the look’ which is exactly what festival style should be all about – a wonderful spectacle of wild creativity (oh, how we wish we could have been there!).


Doc Martins, denim, simple staples and cotton co-ords – the ’90s vibe apparent across runways of the last few seasons has crossed the border into festival territory, with a minimalist, practical approach being a clear winner for those looking for ultimate comfort and ease.

’60s pop art

At the other end of the spectrum there was a colourful, textural, fun-fest happening. There were wild patterns, pastels and playful details – the ’60s were well and truly in full swing.

Fringe and jewellery

Fringing was everywhere, from belts and bags through to skirt hems. Along with fringe, there were lashings of jewellery, mainly silver, adorning wrists, necks and fingers. The over-all look was relaxed, natural and feminine

With many more festivals ahead for the second half of 2016, let’s hope the anything-goes, experimental festival style continues. Some of us, stuck in freezing cold Canberra, may have missed out on the music but scrolling through snaps of the creative and crazy costumes, we can almost imagine we were there, part of the magic.

Image credit: Vogue.com.au and thefashionspot.com.au