The Global Mercado @ Envision FestivalAt almost every festival in the world, you will find the sale of ‘festival fashion’, but what is that exactly? Is it trend defined bohemian wear? Mad-Max style transhumanism swear? Rave Kandi gear)? Or is it handmade, understated comfortable clothing made of organic or up-cycled material? Well that all depends on the festival you are attending.
Festival fashion is an extension of festival culture: a means to express your freedom of thought, of personality and of style. It can range from ready-to-wear, to toeing the line with costume. But more and more, we are finding out that those who play with their attire at festivals are more likely to adventure with the same self-expression in their daily lives. Therefore, the fashion that is being sold at festivals, whether ethically made or not, is making a huge impact. Over the last few years, festival-inspired fashion has become more than a “subcategory” of clothing and accessories. It’s now an entire industry in the foreground of retail distribution, representing great opportunities to sell directly to millennials — and even their younger counterparts (a.k.a., Generation Z).
It’s for this reason that many large retailers are investing heavily into this phenomenon, as evidenced by H&M’s sponsoring at Coachella since 2009. These large commercial festivals attract fast fashion companies who see large-scale opportunity to sell defined trends. Transformational festivals on the other hand, with no corporate sponsorships, attract independent merchants who form a market of diverse, hand-made accessories and garments. And raves, well they have a combination of both.
Fast fashion, however, is perennially at the forefront of misbehavior. They have terrible standards of pollution, ethical labor laws, and lack sizeable investment towards innovations in sustainability. Ethically made fashion should be the concern of us all. How a garment is made matters. The nature of the fabrics, the manufacturing, and the dyes used matter: they are significant factors in creating a sustainable industry for the future.
Santiago Fileta of Gato Montes writes on his website, “We as a collective seek to end the mass consumerism of the global marketplace by creating beautiful, ancestral works that are built to last into the next generation.”
Transformational festivals, such as Envision in Costa Rica, who espouse permaculture and conscientious values, attempt to create a festival market place that feature merchants who take a more loving approach to their merchandise production. Certainly, these designers differ in that they are smaller in company size, have limited or less sophisticated online sales presence, favor handmade production over mechanical production, and feel that the face-to-face relationships they build around the sale of their goods at festivals is a huge part of why they do it in the first place. For them, it’s the human connection that matters: a transfer of story and intent. There is no better way of ‘knowing’ the story of something you buy, then by meeting the craftsman that created it.
As a festival fashion culture magazine, Sparked is not only interested in what festival fashion ‘is’ and ‘does’ for festival culture, but also interested in the range and scope of the merchants who seek to live inside that economy, at whatever scale. And we are thrilled that Envision creates a market of merchants who are truly the best in ethical production whilst creating unique, quality oriented festival fashion.
We encourage you to go meet the various merchants at the Global Mercado. Get to know their story, why they do what they do and in the process, see if you find something that you fall in love with. It may just the piece your self-expression was looking for.