High-Stitched Voice: Coachella trends with No-Chella beats

By Stephanie Huang ‘16Fashion Columnist

Coming to California for school, I had formed all the assumptions, interpretations, and idealized versions of what life here would be like. I thought that I would be frequenting festivals and flea markets, and driving down endless, limitless deserts. This may be possible, but I don’t happen to own a car, rendering my fantasies impossible. I planned on tackling the Rose Bowl Flea Market, Santee Alley, and most importantly, Coachella in my first year—in fact, I thought I would have become a regular at the Rose Bowl by now. Yet here I am, having almost finished a whole year of college, and I have not been able to cross a single destination off my bucket list.

Due to upcoming finals and Coachella’s hefty price tag, I’ve found myself near tears over the ceaseless stream of Instagram festival photos, blog posts, and the lineup. However, I have found that because of Coachella’s popularity, the same trends tend to repeat themselves, with only a select few bringing something new to the table. Though the Huffington Post headlines read “Coachella Style 2013 is All About High-Waisted Shorts, Crop Tops, Neon and Tattoos,” there is really nothing new about these trends. In fact, we’d probably see the same trends in the headlines back in 2012.

To find the innovative and exciting looks among the throng of monotonous denim, fringe, and flower-crowns is a difficult feat, but worth it. To name a few, bloggers from Song of Style, Trop Rouge, and Snakesnest struck a balance between structure and fluidity, scanty and sweaty, all the while incorporating simplicity and prints. Introducing new materials like silk, these girls brought a refined air to their outfits. While their ensembles are completely new, they somehow still manage to encompass the essence of festivals. Hopefully, by next year, these refreshing looks will finally catch on, and the cycle will continue to repeat.

Despite my inability to attend Coachella, seeing No-chella was gratifying. Unlike Coachella, No-chella goers seemed to be much more about personal-style rather than conforming to the homogenizing notion of what festival-wear is supposed to be about, with guys in snapbacks and plaid, and girls in overalls and tropical floral prints. Perhaps it is only without the pressure of what a festival is supposed to be like can we truly see the individuality of fashion at work. Just as the “No” in “No-chella” can be seen as stimulating style-wise, the trailblazing bloggers succeed in their festival looks because they have chosen to deviate from standard festival apparel.