Spring and Summer is here, and you know what that means: Festival Season. And with Coachella as the “unofficial” festival to kick off the season -- and Lady Gaga and Radiohead as headliners -- The Insider breaks down the women’s apparel & accessories you need for your shop or site — and where to buy them wholesale.

Get the Facts

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California has become known as the “New York Fashion Week of festivals”: a legit fashion moment and cultural event that sets the style pace for the rest of the summer season. As a result, it’s important to take cues from Coachella and ensure your shop has the right trends — and if so, promote and merchandise them appropriately.

Coachella’s importance is no joke: fast-fashion retailers like H&M and even British heritage brand Hunter have created capsule collections inspired by the festival; seemingly every blogger and celebrity is in attendance; and for these two weekends in April, all eyes are on Palm Springs and the Indio desert. This all underscores the point that festival fashion is big business.

Find the best festival-inspired wholesale fashion accessories at ASD Market Week, a.k.a. your Affordable Shopping Destination. Get your free buyer’s ticket here.

The Business of Festivals  

According to an April 2016 article in the Business of Fashion, 33 million people attend festivals every year. Even more importantly, these events now attract an international audience that follows every buzzworthy moment on their social media feeds (thanks to Snapchat and Instagram Stories, the music also gets plenty of “screen” time).

coachella 2017

The current celebrity queens of Coachella are: Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez (currently dating music star The Weeknd and so receiving plenty of buzz), Kylie and Kendall Jenner, Hadid sisters Gigi and Bella, Vanessa Hudgens, Rihanna, Sofia Richie, and model Alessandra Ambrosio.

The bloggers to watch are Chiara Ferragni (a.k.a. “The Blonde Salad”), Aimee Song (@SongofStyle), Danielle Bernstein (@WeWoreWhat), and Julie Sarinana (@SincerelyJules).

Tip: If you’re looking for fashion inspiration all year long, follow these It girls in addition to the aforementioned Coachella-going celebs: Australian actress Ruby Rose, British actress Lily Collins, Black-ish star Yara Shahidi, and musical powerhouse Solange.

*Speaking of recent Grammy-winner Solange, when news broke that her sister Beyonce was headlining Coachella, the Internet basically went bonkers. (Editor's note: Even though Beyoncé can't make it, she'll still be inspiring styles everywhere.)

We spoke with Kim Westwood of Shopping Links an online marketplace connecting bloggers and brands, about Coachella fashion.

Westwood explains: “We see social media influencers sporting the latest in not only festival fashion, but also the trends we’re likely to see all summer.”

Festivals + Social Media + Pop-up Shops

As if the music, celeb sightings and Ferris wheel weren’t enough to provide social media fodder, Coachella also brings about opportunities for pop-up shops and activations. It’s basically a “see and be seen fashion moment” — and according to Jeff Fromm, president of the Future Cast (a millennial marketing firm): “Sharing is critical — it’s the currency of cool. If it didn’t appear on my Instagram feed, it didn’t exist.” (As quoted in the aforementioned BoF article.)

The fun is all about to restart this April 14-16 and April 21-23, as Coachella’s two weekends kick off the festival season.

Read why “Festival Season” is a holiday that all retailers need to prepare for each year.

Getting Started

To help you out, we’ve highlighted the trending look of festival fashion and then broken it down into its core pieces as a guide for what to stock in your store or site. We’ve also included the vendors selling these pieces at high-margin so your customers can shop this look as well!

The Look: Festival Fashion

While Coachella was once synonymous with head-to-toe boho looks (fringe, flower crowns and all), there seems to be a new wave of festival dressing. According to an April 2016 WhoWhatWear article: “Gone are the costume-y head-to-toe bohemian looks and impractical pieces of seasons past.”

So don’t be fooled by the Coachella-style flower crown Snapchat filter: Coachella 2016 had more of a rock ‘n’ roll vibe than “flower child” feel.

The Pieces You’ll Need This Year

The Apparel

We spoke with a Brand Specialist of fashion and accessories retailer, Ardene about the festival trend. Here are the items that Ardene says will make waves at this year’s festival season.

“For starters, all things off-shoulder. This is especially true for dresses this season and is manifesting itself via off-shoulder and cold-shoulder styles.”
Denim is also a staple item, but this year it’s all about painted denim.

“Whether on jeans, jean jackets or denim shorts, painted text on denim is the new pins & patches,” says brand specialist at fashion and accessories retailer Ardene.

Also accentuating denim: embroidery. It’s a key trend this year and it’s especially dominant in the form of floral embroidery.


Photo: Ardene

For the more adventurous festival-goers, bras as tops is also a thing. Whether worn over a T-shirt or just as a top with high-waisted shorts, ‘bralettes’ will continue to be important at Coachella.

What about the tamer spirits? Slip dresses are also a key trend, worn over a fitted T-shirt.


Photo: Ardene

Western-Style Belts

Ever since Kendall Jenner was spotted rocking this Western-style belt on the streets of LA, the ‘90s throwback trend took off. Last year’s Coachella festival-goers wore their belts with everything from denim cutoffs to peasant-style and even rock ‘n’ roll dresses. (And these are still #trending this year…)

We love that they boast a retro vibe, while the metallic accents add a chic edge that’s #streetstyle perfect.

Baseball Caps

The boho trend has long been associated with Coachella, but this year, it seems that athleisure -- a hybrid between “athletic” and “leisure” -- is taking over. From 2014 to today, athleisure has gone from trend to full-on lifestyle. 

According to a recent article about athleisure in Business Insider, "Athleisure is the new casual." Ardene's brand specialist explains: “As festival fashion moves away from the traditional ‘boho’ vibe towards an eclectic street sensibility, baseball caps are becoming the new felt hat.”

baseball caps

Photo: Ardene

Small Backpacks

Speaking of athleisure, backpacks have been making waves on the runway for several years now, underscoring the “cool kid” element of street-meets-sports dressing.

Festival attire calls for being hands-free and minimal “baggage,” which makes mini backpacks the ultimate choice for festival-goers. This year’s backpack trend is especially playful, with don’t-take-me-seriously details.

Insider Merchandising Tip: If you carry mini backpacks in your shop, give those in neon, denim, and even graphic tones like black and white, a prominent spot in your display.


When it comes to shades, anything and everything goes: retro round sunnies, aviators, and ‘60s style cat-eye frames are sure to top the faces of Coachella revelers.

We spoke with Christopher Friel, Owner & Founder of WONDERLAND, a Los Angeles-based eyewear brand rooted in iconic American nostalgia, about this year’s festival-friendly sunglasses. 

“Festival season frames are always about size, color & style; this year is no different,” says Christopher Friel, Owner & Founder of Wonderland eyewear. "The nature of the season allows for a bit more risk-taking in terms of styling than people are generally willing to take. This season you’ll be seeing a lot of oversized, mixed materials and mirrored lens variations like our new 'Salton Sea' frames, as well as angular interpretations of the cat-eye like our new 'ZZYZX' style."



Insider Merchandising Tip: show off your array of sunglasses in your store’s visual presentation, as they’re the finishing touch to any festival look. You’ll be “throwing shade” in all the right ways!

Bandanas, Bandanas, Bandanas

Bandanas and any kind of handkerchief or thin scarf that can be tied around the neck are festival must-haves — and have been a key trend for the past two summers.

Fashion lovers are hunting down this “army surplus” style accessory — so if your store has them, make sure to flaunt ‘em. Classic colors like red, navy, black, and white offer the most street cred and versatility.

Insider Merchandising Tip: Take a cue from bloggers like Man Repeller and Sincerely Jules, and showcase a bandana tied onto a handbag strap and even in a belt loop of denim cutoffs for extra points. Your customers will love their versatility (and will notice your fashion savvy)!

Chokers, Lariat, and Statement Necklaces

Neck swag is the new arm party. While it used to be all about stacking bracelets and bangles in a case of “more is more,” today’s hottest accessory is the necklace.

Chokers were everywhere Coachella 2016 and they’re still going very strong for 2017 in general. (Note: we wonder if the popularity of Friends on Netflix is partly responsible for this ‘90s throwback trend, as millennials are now binge-watching this show).

According to Ardene, “We’re seeing the emergence of updated and upgraded chokers. These can include lettering, buckles, and iridescent materials.”

The ubiquitous trend even inspired Taylor Swift to use this caption in an Instagram pic of her #squad, at last year’s Coachella: I feel like maybe chokers are the new flower crowns?

Michelle Orman, President of Last Word Communications (a full-service communications firm specializing in the fine jewelry and luxury markets), gave us the lowdown on festival jewelry trends.

“Jewelry worn during Coachella trends towards pieces with meaning; things like talismans, lockets, heirlooms, and gemstones that have some sort of significance for the wearer. There’s also a lot of layering and stacking, which is the perfect complement to the boho-chic vibe of the clothing worn throughout the festival.”
Orman offers the perfect example: “In 2016, Kesha posted an image from Coachella on Instagram showing off two rings from the brand Buddha Mama’s Lotus Collection. Buddha Mama is a perfect example of a brand that embraces a lot of spiritual meaning while also being super contemporary, sexy and perfect for stacking and layering.”

Facial Bling
Another ‘90s trend has returned with a vengeance: facial jewels. (Remember Gwen Stefani in the No Doubt era? She rocked this style like no one else). Bloggers and festival-goers bejeweled their faces in intricate patterns for a whimsically perfect look.

Extra credit: speaking of the ‘90s, septum nose piercings and body jewelry are literally everywhere again and essentially mainstream (and coming to a Main Street near you).

Lace-Up Sandals, Slides & Sneakers

Gladiator sandals (especially flats) are the epitome of laid-back festival dressing.

Kim Westwood from Shopping Links gives us the footwear scoop: “Gladiator sandals, once sported only by the fashion-forward, are now taking center stage and look like they’ll be here to stay.”

And in the spirit of more sport-meets-street trends, athleisure-inspired shoes are also huge this festival season. From the Rihanna-designed #FENTY X PUMA capsule collection (which includes furry slides and creeper-style sneakers) to classic sneakers like Converse,

Vans and all the top iconic sneaker brands, comfort is clearly key for the festival season. Even couture designers like Gucci have gotten in on the rubber pool slide trend, so expect to see high-street and more commercial brands offering these up as well.

iPhone cases

For social media sharing to be possible at Coachella, iPhones are an essential tech accessory. (This goes without saying!) And since your MVP accessory needs to be protected, iPhone cases are the ultimate way to express yourself while using your phone and keeping it safe.

We spoke with Jennie Yoon, Director of Business Development at Casetify, about this year’s phone case trends:

“People are becoming more open to the idea of expressing their style through tech accessories, mainly through phone cases,” explains Yoon. “We're starting to see tropical patterns and exotic animals in full swing for Spring/Summer ‘17. The jungle is very much alive with elements of giraffes, elephants, and tigers, with dark florals. And this year’s new palm tree seems to be the cactus, as well lush palm leaves. Of course, we'll continue to see boho and lace for the festival season -- maybe with some rich twists.”

Even though we'll all seriously miss Beyoncé, we can still celebrate with Casetify’s Be Yoncé” Collection, inspired by Queen Bey’s song lyrics, style, and self-empowerment.

iphone cases

Photo: Casetify

Flamingo, Swan & Unicorn(!) Inflatables

It seems no pool party is complete without pool inflatables, especially flamingos, swans, and — for the first time — unicorns! So if you want to really add a touch of Palm Springs to your shop or display, then these bright pool inflatables are the way to go. #poolgoals

Putting It All Together: Where to Buy Each Piece 

Off-Shoulder Dresses: L’atiste

Western-Style Belts: JTC Belt & More Inc.

Sunglasses: Sobo Fashion

Bandanas: Sunshine Joy

(Fashion-Forward) Baseball Caps: Brick Brick Gear

Backpacks: Dream Control

Chokers, Lariats, & Statement Jewelry: Illuma Fashion

Facial Jewels: Bepapaia

Sandals, Slides, & Sneakers: H2K Trading

Pool Inflatables: Kangaroo Manufacturing

FEATURED IMAGE: Courtesy of Wonderland

Want to make sure your shop is stocked with high-margin women’s accessories? Get your free ticket here to attend ASD Market Week, the largest Fashion + Accessories and general merchandise trade show in the U.S. – and find all of the products featured in this post at the right price, all under one roof. July 30 – August 2, 2017 in Las Vegas.

Article by: Karin Eldor