Coachella Desert Daze
Just shy of two weeks ago, I took to the desert, outfitted in Neon Gypsy and reunited with the music festival that started my deep romance with festivals, Coachella!
Coachella will always hold a special place in my heart because nine years ago, it was the first festival I ever attended. Back then, while still a massive festival, Coachella hadn’t quite reached the scope it holds now. The first year I went, I hadn’t heard of the festival and agreed to attend upon the invite from a friend based on the sole knowledge that it was a weekend of concerts involving camping. I showed up with oversized shirts and cowboy boots, assuming “camping” meant I would be in nature and didn’t need to worry about what my outfits looked like. Of course, upon arriving, I felt insanely unprepared for the fashion element of the festival and proceeded to rip one of my oversized tees along the collar and sleeves to make one of my outfits appear slightly more edgy (haha!).
I remember that first year being a complete sensory overload of art and music. I felt overwhelmed, yet so incredibly inspired by all the new music I discovered that when I returned home I talked about Coachella non stop. It was then I realized that there was an entire culture nestled within festivals that I had only just begun to experience. That sent me on a festival grand tour where I saved up all my money from working at a coffee shop and went to other iconic festivals like EDC, Beyond Wonderland, and Lightning in a Bottle. Those early days set the stage for embarking into festival accessory design when I started Wild & Free Jewelry and still heavily influence my admiration for music today.
After that first weekend in the desert, I stepped into a dream of festivals and since then, I haven’t missed a single year of Coachella. Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to spot a handful of festival goers wearing Wild & Free Jewelry at Coachella and nearly tackled them with hugs from excitement. This desert space has fueled inspiration in countless ways, and having been in attendance for so long, it’s been a trip to watch the festival transform into what it is today. In many ways, I feel as though I’ve been growing alongside it, and upon each year, I leave feeling creatively charged and happy to have witnessed such breathtaking talent in the short time span of three days.
Which is why, I found it extra disheartening when I received some angry messages upon attending the festival this year, and I feel as though it would be out of character to publish a blog post without addressing the issues those messages brought up. Some of you may already know this, but I only just discovered, that the corporate owner of Coachella has been reported in the past to openly support and donate to anti LGBTQ organizations. This, in addition to the festival’s struggle with sustainability, lead to a handful of angry messages via my Instagram account and I wanted to take a quick moment to set the record straight. Those views do not reflect my own.
In the face of this negativity I want to say that having attended the festival for years on end, I strongly feel Coachella offers a space for untethered self expression and above all else, it creates a world in which people from around the world can unite in one shared experience. From the art, to the fashion, to the music, Coachella offers the space for unity to exist between over a hundred thousand people, a reality fused together by creative passion. The atmosphere that exists within the festival grounds speaks just the opposite of any narrow mindset that may exist on a corporate level, and it’s that specific sentiment that will no doubt serve as a movement towards a more positive and inclusive future.
In regards to the sustainability issue, Coachella works with the non-profit, Global Inheritance to help inspire their festival goers to take a more eco-friendly approach. I spent some time talking to a couple employees working at the Global Inheritance booth inside Coachella and learned that they’re responsible for setting up refillable water stations, recycle centers and Carpool Coachella (the sweepstakes were attendees can enter to win Coachella passes for life, simply by carpooling to the festival!). It’s aspects like this that give me hope and bypass all negativity.
I firmly believe that love will triumph and with that said, I’m honored to share my favorite snapshots from Coachella 2018.
Last month I highlighted Neon Gypsy, an amazing New Zealand based label, and I was so excited to discover I would be featuring them again throughout my festival weekend! I styled their gorgeous red maxi dress, black low back romper, convertible fringe backpack and silk scarves alongside heaps of jewelry and mesmerizing fan veils. Each outfit was so fun to put together and use to dream up a new look. The best part is that I know I’ll be able to wear these pieces again outside of a festival setting for years to come.
If my last blog post didn’t convince you to check out Neon Gypsy, I hope this one nudges you their direction once again. Their pieces are versatile and easy to throw on (or dress up with tons of accessories like I did for Coachella). Find all my outfits hyperlinked below, and, as always, thank you for reading!