Neon colors and butterfly tops: Chicago designers share the latest festival fashion trends ahead of Lollapalooza

By Amina Sergazina, Staff Reporter

Sedona Steffens

Lollapalooza is coming back this summer and it means big crowds, celebrities, alcohol and fashion. If you bought tickets, but have only worn sweatpants during quarantine, do not worry. Local Chicago designers shared the latest trends to watch for at the festival this year.

From July 29 through Aug. 1, the annual Chicago music festival Lollapalooza is returning to Grant Park, with artists like Miley Cyrus, Playboy Carti, Megan Thee Stallion, Tyler, the Creator and more. While music is the main focus, fans also attend to show off their festival fashion, which typically includes neon colors, glitter and open clothes.

“Festival fashion blurs between a line of being really corny or really good because festival fashion usually [is] a lot of neon, but there [are] times where it’s played really well, and it looks amazing,” said Lucas Rodriguez, a 22-year-old clothing designer from Arizona who is based in Chicago.

Rodriguez said attendees can expect to see a lot of butterfly tops, two-piece outfits and patchwork this year at Lollapalooza. They recommend avoiding skinny jeans because they do not complement the body.

Another item that is “hot” right now, but should be avoided because of the weather, is knitwear, Rodriguez said.

Shelby Cade, a freshman music major, will be attending Lollapalooza for the third time, and she said she takes her outfits very seriously. Cade started several Pinterest boards with possible festival outfits and has a list of essentials like body glitter, high-waisted flowy pants, mesh, tank tops and jewelry.

“I do like to be a little bit more risky when it comes to festival wear,” Cade said. “More revealing clothing is more culturally acceptable in that kind of realm for women, [where they] could walk around wearing a bra or swimsuit top or a really short shirt, because it’s hot [and] you’re out dancing and listen to music all day, versus in a normal setting.”

Steph Brisco, fashion designer and founder of the Brisco clothing brand, reinterprets everyday clothes with bright colors and 20th century icons like Dennis Rodman, Missy Elliott and André 3000. He said he values comfortability, radiant colors and vivid silhouettes in his clothes. He said attendees will see a lot of trendy mesh clothes and neon colors at the music festivals.

“Style is so subjective, if you will go outside and feel comfortable, it always works for me,” Brisco said.

Brisco said his ideal festival look would be his abstract Marni button-up shirt and a pair of Issey Miyake shorts, accessorized with his Brisco bag to carry a jacket for cold weather.

Viet Tran, a 20-year-old sound design freelancer who left Columbia this year, is going to the music festival for the first time. Tran said their style changed a lot during pandemic from chic to more casual and comfortable.

Tran said they are not going to worry about their outfit until a few days before the festival so they can prepare for the weather and show people their personal style.

“I’m more focused on having a good time than looking good,” Tran said. “If it’s super hot then, I’m just going to wear clothing that is comfortable for me, but if it’s a little bit cooler and can wear maybe a jacket or something, then I’ll definitely have more fun with that.”

Festival fashion is not only about current trends, but it also brings up the issue of sustainability because of people buying clothes just to wear for a few days, according to Michael Kudra, a sophomore fashion studies major.

“I don’t think [festival fashion] ever has the intention of the quality of the garment or the wearability for a long period of time or the construction in terms of how long it’s going to last, which are all things that I think of when I buy clothes in general,” Kudra said. “It’s like you’re buying a Halloween costume.”

Kudra suggests DIYing your own outfit and thrifting the pieces to avoid worrying about ruining it.

“Just understanding that everyone there is also [there] to have fun, so no one’s really going to judge you for your outfit because chances are that everyone else is drunk, just like you will be,” Rodriguez said.