Friday, 1 May 2009

The F Word

As summer 2009 approaches us, it’s time for fashion forecasters to admit defeat. As the same trend yet again crops up in all its dishevelled denim hot pant glory. Lets face it; you wouldn’t have questioned the Topshop trilbies in the beer queue at Woodstock. Emily Loughlin talks fashions dreaded word: Festival. And how it all is a pile of…chic.


Prehistorically, men and women dressed accordingly for comfort in the hot weather, and evidence has been found that prehistoric women had a passion for fashion, through the findings of carvings. "According to the figurines we found, young women were beautifully dressed, like today's girls in short tops and mini skirts, and wore bracelets around their arms," archaeologist Julka Kuzmanovic-Cvetkovic said in an interview with ABC news in 2007.


The stereotypical image of cave men and women walking round in cloths seems far from the truth when hearing Cvetkovic’s results, however this false image is being emulated by teeny boppers centuries later, teamed with their best pout and spending Daddy’s hard earned cash on threads which, literally, have been strung together.


People like Sienna Miller, Kate Moss and Lilly Allen are the modern day cave girls who have moulded festival fashion and made it into a fully-fledged trend. Creating designer style nightmares that their latest silhouette or tailoring goes amiss come S/S, when real clothes are abandoned in favour of band T-shirts (has that fifteen year old really heard of The Rolling Stones?) wellies and hot pants. The truth is from a fashion perspective the trend lacks originality, skill or craft. The lack of passion makes it, quite frankly, boring.


In its umpteenth year, girls, like a pack of lionesses, parade themselves in front of potential mates. Luring them in with their Topshop wellies and ‘vintage’ jumpers. But what is it about looking like you’ve fallen through a bush backwards that has become chic? And why must we succinct to the fashion weeklies year after year with the same “Hot New Trend?”


It was, once upon a time, a trend secluded to a music festival, and in festival terms the trend screams practicality. It’s easy wear- with the ability to face the tough conditions the festivalgoer comes across, rain, shine, or over populated beer tents. For the male species? The trend seems to escape them entirely, as they waltz around in their everyday attire. However for them, it’s an excuse to ruin your best clothes rather than look good in them.


For girls the trend has it all. Hot pants: easy, mud can be removed far easier from flesh than a pair of Diesel jeans. Un-brushed tangled locks show that one has had a bloody good time- far too good to bother with their un-kept tresses.  However, the look is not so suitable walking around Waitrose like a ravenous cave girl, who looks like they need a good wash and an iron.


The British people are fantastic though, any weather conditions that occur throughout the year and we go into over drive. Now, automatically summer equals festival chic. The use of the word chic has made it into a full on fashion statement- not be taken lightly. And that also means, outside of the festival realm the F word is being used and is being accepted.



The sad thing is, the once gone festival eccentric, with fairy wings and bright body paint has been pushed aside, as middle class kids (with an allowance big enough to purchase the bloomin’ ticket in the first place) look down on them as if they are dressed as a fashion faux-ing nightmare. Now the place where one can be expressive with ones self (be that through narcotics, spirituality or fashionably) has turned into another corner of life where self esteem is knocked to the back of ones portable-festival wardrobe, and the pressure to look good haunts us more so than the loos.


Last year saw the start of what is now an institution for fans of festival fashion: Glamping, a form of camping for people who can’t survive a weekend without a few luxuries. Luxuries include portable hair straighteners, showers and sleeping eye masks. Glamping’s origins hark back from Africa and Thailand, and now all over Europe and America it has become a popular twist on the traditional leaky tent and ground mat. Inside the average glamped-up tent, presents a four-poster bed inside and a bug-free guarantee. The only down side is there’s no wardrobe or stylist to help plan ‘thrown together’ outfits. Bless.


Maybe I’m just bitter, that in my day the most important component for a festival was a pac-a-mac. It’s time to face that come July the only time you’ll hear chic is with the F word printed in bold letters in front of it. So, with reluctance we can either embrace it or continue to kick and scream at the possibilities summer fashion could be (I dream of a Prada Grecian gown!).



So this summer, the only time I’ll be embracing my inner cave girl will be in a field full of the rest of them listening to incredibly loud music. Although you won’t find me preening myself with a compact mirror, I’ll be in the beer tent; or sunning myself dressed in fairy wings with my DM’s; that I were bought for me, by my parents, for practicality back in 2003, not because they are SO this season, Darling. 

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