Independent Designers for Festival Attire or Alternative Style
I’m actually really excited about this post, because in a way I think it describes me better than anything else I’ve posted so far, and might help explain why I chose the blog name “Decadent Dissonance.” The dictionary definition of “dissonance” is “lack of harmony among musical notes.” Notes are all notes, but some go together well while others might cause “a tension or clash.” In terms of personal style, or anything in life really, I don’t like to limit myself. I have a wide range of things I love, and when it comes to style, it certainly doesn’t stop at contemporary premium fashion. As a DJ, I have a huge appreciation for music (electronic, especially), which of course, naturally brings up the topic of festivals. But along with those festivals, more than just the music, is the experience of everyone coming together as one in a peaceful celebration of life and individual freedoms without the assistance of the mundane and constricting structure of society. I always leave feeling so refreshed, both spiritually and creatively! I’ve enjoyed my occasional EDC, but those ones that really get my heart pumping are transformational festivals. Yes, I’m a bit of a closet hippie. My hippie friends and my fashionable friends both kind of see me as an anomaly…one of my hippy friends calls me an “urban hippy” before, which I kind of like. Either way, one of the things that transformational festivals has helped me really appreciate is independent, handmade, and sustainable apparel found at vendors at these events. Not only are these items of clothing extremely fun to rock while running through the forest while music from all angles bounces through the trees, but they are one-of-a-kind, super creative, and I know I’m supporting an independent artist with every purchase. Most pieces definitely work better at an event, but many could be integrated into your everyday life. Another thing that makes them so special is that most of them are made to order! Here are a few of my favorite artists, some of which I discovered at the events I’ve attended and some I found later online (Etsy of course)! I hope some of them inspire you!
Elven Forest Creations (above)
This has got to be my favorite Etsy shop, I think. Elven Forest Creations features “tribal clothing inspired by elf and fairy fashion as well as by fashion in underground communities of artists and travelers.” The Weave Me Wings Top (which is cool enough to wear anywhere) and the Elven Over-Skirt Shirt (which can be worn as a skirt or a top) above I’ve purchased for the upcoming Lucidity Festival and Lightning In a Bottle and I wish I could buy everything in the store, including the Tassel Lace Up Dance Pants. Owner Ashli Hara is awesome at communicating with her customers and making sure your order is made just right for you. Most of her items are made of either recycled or sustainable fibers, and she does her best to keep prices as fair as possible. She says, “I have always been deeply inspired by what I call the sacred art of self decoration and I love to make clothes to reflect this. I opened this shop with the idea that it could kind of be like a collective. Right now Myself and and my friend Eva sew and send out the orders together.” Ashli resides in San Francisco, and now accepts bitcoins (which I have no idea how to use yet, but hey, cool!).
Luna Designs is actually one of the first ones I purchased from. This Israeli-based company has some of the most unique looks, and I’ve worn the Sleeveless and Backless Sassy Summer Top in Vine at numerous events and DJ gigs too. The cotton jersey and spandex blend is soft and stretchy and has held up through many washes! I love the hood so much. Luna Designs say they “are inspired by the grace and beauty of magic and nature.” The faces behind the brand, Dea and Nir, both reside in Israel but have had many multicultural experiences around the world which has inspired the beautiful clothing and accessories they create.
Herban Devi is a brand that I think works very well both inside and out of the festival environment. One of my favorite pieces in my closet is the Nomadic Ballerina Hooded pullover, which is made of organic cotton, bamboo, hemp, lycra, and spandex. It’s so perfectly cozy for a long road trip or a cool breezy spring or fall day. I wore it for a Denimology review too! I’ve been eyeing the The Travelers Tunic for awhile too! Herban Devi is run by Jennifer La Peire in San Francisco, California, and “handmade, eco-friendly apparel” to keep “life comfortable and sexy for women around the world.” Jennifer has been sewing since 2008 and it soon became a way for her to be a stay at home mommy. She states, “another attribute that makes my clothing line unique is that it is all hand cut, sewn and printed/painted by me with some help from my wonderful husband, Luke DuMonthier. I love being able to express myself through my fashion and feel so blessed to have this as a job.” If that doesn’t make you want to shop the department stores a little less and support talented people like her, I don’t know what will.
Maha Devi Design
I haven’t yet shopped Maha Devi but I really like their selection, and they often issue sales and discounts! In fact, if you sign up for their newsletter and create an account, you get an instant $10 off. They also offer free shipping in Canada and the USA on all orders over $100. The shop is owned by Freyja Skye, who made her first dress at age 11, and Jules Marie Emmerson, who studied Jewelry Design and Gemmology at George Brown College in Toronto in 2003. While studying fashion design (with a dream to design eco-clothing) at Blanche MacDonald in 2006/07, she met Freyja, and Maha Devi Design was born. The two began promoting and selling their brand at festivals and dance events via vegetable oil-powered vehicles, and state that “new designs developed inspired by patterns from nature and goddess energy (hence the name: MahaDevi means Great Goddess in Sanskrit, honouring all goddess energy in creation and in us).” Everything is made with organic bamboo or hemp, and some items offer you a choice of one of the two materials. I’m sure I’ll be grabbing something from their shop soon!
I first discovered Crossfox at Lucidity Festival a few years ago. The brand caught my eye because of it’s attractive blend of steampunk and tribal apparel and those freaking awesome leather hip bags! They’re definitely more on the pricey side, but I don’t expect any of these items to be any less than they are since they are all created meticulously by hand and with love. I don’t have anything from Crossfox yet, but I hope to see them soon this year when I hit up a few events. I’d have to say the Basic Pocket Leggings, made of hand dyed eco friendly bamboo fleece and terry jersey, have been on my wishlist for awhile! They’re definitely more on the theatrical side, and I’ve been starting my festival attire collection more on the basic bamboo/hemp pieces that have a bit more flexibility, until I actually have more of a costume or persona I want to take on, if it gets to that point. But right now, I do like to admire what Crossfox has to offer.
Opal Moon Designs
Opal Moon was also a discovery at Lucidity Festival. They’re definitely a bit more on the higher-end too, like Crossfox, and are more on the gypsy/nomadic side of things. I haven’t yet shopped them either, as it’s also such a different style, but I have so much fun looking through their collections every year. Opal Moon can be found at renaissance and transformational festivals alike, and owner Kerrie Kordowski states her mission is to “transform and empower women, while instilling strength, beauty, form, and function.” She is inspired by “Medieval costuming, ancient mythology, & science fiction” and calls her signature style “Tribal Sci Fi.” Her shop was born on Etsy in 2009 and still is going strong at her studio in the Santa Monica Mountains!
The Opal Moon photo above for the The Underbust Holster Vest w/ Pockets & Detachable Hood kind of describes what I’ve wanted to do outfit-wise for these burning-man-esque festivals, but obviously it takes some planning, and money…and how do I balance that with my obsession with jeans and everything else? Again, there’s that dissonance thing…I just want to do it all at once, which leaves some of my interests stagnant for awhile. Le sigh, such is life, right? Either way, it’s fun to acquire a piece every now and then and remember the experience I had in them at each event. Many of them work well as lounge attire as well. In a way, due to the higher quality and price of many of these items, it helps me appreciate being more selective, and buying less frequently, which allows me to better enjoy the items I do get. Fashion should be like that, independent or not. “Less is more”…which is definitely a mantra held consistent at these away-from-the-mundane events which I love so much.