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festivals 2016

Festival Anti-Fashion Is the Best Fashion

Lollapalooza isn't fashionable; it's practical. And these were the hottest non-looks of the season.

Photos by Petya Shalamanova

As one of the longest-running major music festivals in the country, Lollapalooza is more defined by what it isn’t than what it is. It isn’t pretentious, it isn’t rowdy, and it isn’t new (the festival celebrated its 25th anniversary this year). It also isn’t particularly fashionable. Unlike Coachella, which appeals to neo-bohemian rich kids and celebrities obsessed with fringe and desert-ready boots, or Bonnaroo, which embraces a grungier hippy aesthetic, Lollapalooza is as straightforward as it comes. Maybe it’s because so many of its attendees come from the Midwest, a part of the country that is decidedly more conservative in its dress. At the festival, you’re more likely to find attendees sporting matching outfits or variations of the American flag than anything that would make it on your average street style blogs. The most common look for women at this year’s festival was some variation of low cut body suit or halter tank, unflattering high-waist shorts and cornrows.


This year, we decided to focus on the festival’s anti-fashion. How do Lollapalooza festival attendees stay as comfortable as physically possible in a park filled with 100,000 people and oppressive heat? Think khakis, sports jerseys, and regular old T-shirts. If these guests look like they stumbled off of the street into the festival, that’s the whole point.


In any other setting, camo shorts would blend in. Here, where jorts are the standard, they stand out.


Whether they were real (Indiana State, Atlanta Braves) or fake (Tune Squad), a sports jersey was the perfect way to stay cool why avoiding the dreaded cotton tee pit stains of hours in the Chicago summer sun.


The looser-fitting the better. Deep pockets help you breeze through entrance lines to grab a beer and listen to the music while shirtless dudes in Camelbaks practically get strip searched upon arrival for molly.


When those 19 year olds high on whatever pills they could effectively sneak into the park start sprinting toward Perry’s stage to hear the same bass drop 100 times in a row, you’ll be thankful to wear real shoes that can withstand their oblivious foot stomping.

Petya Shalamanova is a photographer based in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram.

Britt Julious is a writer based in Chicago. Follow her on Twitter.