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Sustainable Festival Fashion: 5 Ways to Craft Eco Friendly Outfits

As Paypal's Melbourne Fashion Week began February 24th, 2024, we thought we'd put festival fashion in the spotlight. In the vibrant tapestry of Australian culture, festival season stands as a lively celebration of music, art, and community.

Amidst the pulsating beats and kaleidoscope of colours, there lies an opportunity to leave behind the city suits and embrace the costumes of our childhood, mismatched patterns and all.  

But have you ever considered how environmentally friendly your outfits for music festivals are? When you get home and your boa has shed most of its feathers, where do they end up (or even more concerning... where did they come from originally)? Crafting eco-friendly festive wear makes a statement, fusing a harmonious union between style and conscience. 

Gone are the days when we lack awareness about how fast fashion operates and its detrimental effects on the environment. Buying brand-new clothes for festivals only to toss them out after the weekend is a major fashion faux-pas. We promise you can have a chic music festival outfit that slays the dancefloor, not the climate.

Here are 5 tips to create a more conscious festival fashion wardrobe!

wearing eco friendly festival outfits with friends is fun!
Enjoy your festival knowing it won't harm the planet!

1. Evade Harmful Materials

In our quest for eco-friendly festive wear, certain materials warrant a courteous nod from our wardrobes. Bid adieu to sequins, notorious for their harmful impact on nature and contribution to microplastic pollution. Similarly, feathers, while picturesque and gloriously photo-worthy, often originate from dubious sources and lack ethical credentials. 

Sequins are not part of an eco friendly festival outfit.
Sequins end up as microplastic in the environment. Avoid in your festival wear!

But if your festival style is more toned-down and Earthy than loud and proud, you may opt to source sustainable fabrics made from organic and fair trade materials. Nothing is more synonymous with ethical festival fashion trends than turning away single-use plastics and synthetic fabrics, opting instead for fibres such as organic cotton, hemp, or bamboo.

2. Thoughtful Thrifting

Curating a conscious closet of festival wear is akin to building a museum exhibition: you collect the perfect pieces to show the whole world. When it comes to festival clothes, Australia has no shortage of thrift stores to meet any and all of your eclectic wardrobe needs. Start by scouring these shops and vintage boutiques, where treasures of yesteryear await rediscovery.

Sustainable fashion begins with using what is already available at thrift stores.
Thrifting festival clothes is a great option for sustainable fashion.

By embracing the alternative of second-hand clothing items versus buying new, you can breathe life into preloved garments and save these items from ending up in landfill. Only 20% of what gets donated even makes it to the floor, so cherish these sacred finds! 

3. Mindful Accessories

No festival ensemble is complete without a flourish of accessories, yet herein lies another opportunity for eco-conscious expression. Explore handcrafted jewellery made from recycled materials such as metals, reclaimed wood, or ethically sourced gemstones.

Wooden beaded necklaces are a great festival outfit accessory.
Wear natural jewellery, locally made, or find some at thrift stores.

Let each accessory tell a story of uniqueness woven with threads of ethical elegance. You can also go the thrift store route, which always has an abundance of jewellery waiting for its second debut! Try shops like the Chapel Street Bazaar.

4. Festival Makeup and Beauty

While clothing plays a significant role in festival fashion, makeup and beauty products can bring out the sparkle (the biodegradable kind, of course). Opt for truly environmentally friendly glitter (that doesn't make false claims and greenwash). Try The Glitter Tribe, who are TUV certified, sparing our oceans from the scourge of microplastic pollution.

Oftentimes, you might see claims for compostable glitter, but unless you collect every piece of glitter and take it to a compost facility where it only breaks down at high temperatures, you can be sure that glitter will NOT breakdown in nature. Be discerning with glitter!

Bio Glitter from The Glitter Tribe is a non-toxic eco friendly festival outfit addition.
Make sure your glitter is TUV Certified and will truly biodegrade in the environment.

Also, choose cosmetics made from non-toxic, cruelty-free ingredients, avoiding products that contain harmful chemicals and plastic packaging. There are plenty of zero-waste makeup brands to choose from these days.

5. Attend Sustainable Fashion Events

As the demand for eco-friendly fashion grows, so does the prevalence of sustainable fashion events and markets. Engage with artisans and fashion brands who prioritize sustainability, learning about their processes, supply chains, and materials.

Explore the hundreds of stalls to find the perfect eco friendly festival outfit.
The Finder's Keepers Market in Melbourne is a huge sustainable artisan market.

Attend swap meets and pop-up shops to discover unique, ethically made festival clothes. In Melbourne, the National Sustainability Festival is held annually hosting speakers on sustainable fashion. Or get lost at the Finder's Keepers Market filled with ethical designers. 

Why Are Eco Friendly Festival Outfits Important?

As we dance beneath the stars and revel in the symphony of festival fervour, let's remember our role as custodians of the land. Crafting eco friendly festival outfits isn't merely a trend; it's a testament to our values. 

By embracing sustainable fashion choices and eschewing harmful materials, we pave the way for lasting changes at future festival grounds and ensure the safety of wildlife.

So, as you prepare to embark on your next festival adventure, remember – style with sustainability is the ultimate fashion statement. If you’re heading to a festival soon or know someone who could upgrade their glitter situation, share this article with them! 

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