Austin City Limits: A platform for classic festival style and new trends

Kat Sampson

Looking particularly on-trend with her dainty necklaces and maroon nail polish, Laura Lauford laughs about an ACL getup she witnessed on campus with thigh-high socks, jelly shoes and pigtails. Lauford, a sales associate at Austin clothing boutique Langford Market, cannot seem to stress enough the importance of being oneself. 

“People pile on way too many trends at once,” Lauford said. “Part of going to a festival is looking cute but being comfortable. You’re at a dirty music festival. You need to be comfortable.”

While festivalgoers strive to remain current, Sarah Overton, senior assistant manager of Langford Market, believes a distinct festival style is largely ingrained in American culture.

“I hear a lot of people come in and say, ‘I need a hippie look. I don’t have any hippie clothes,’” Overton said. “But I think that comes down to Woodstock. Woodstock was one of the biggest festivals ever, and, so, I think people take a lot of inspiration from that.”

Overton said, as the Austin City Limits Music Festival approaches, customers will come into the store looking for a head-to-toe wardrobe that reflects the trends pulsing through American fashion. This year more than any other, she noticed a desire for a grungy, deconstructed aesthetic reflective of style in the early ’90s. 

“I have the 20-year theory,” Overton said. “I think anything comes back every 20 years. The ’90s are super big right now. I think it has had long enough to go away where it’s like, ‘Oh, I think I actually miss that now.’”

This year, the ACL lineup featured a slew of electronic artists, such as Calvin Harris and Skrillex, drawing in younger crowds who are particularly susceptible to trends.

Perhaps the most apparent trend this year — and most marketable to a festival crowd — is the Flash Tattoo craze. Flash Tattoos are temporary, metallic tattoos described on the company website as “jewelry-inspired.” Overton said the company’s booth at ACL was a smart way to target its key demographic. She also acknowledged the power musicians have as trend setters.

“Beyoncé loves flash tats, apparently,” Overton said. “Everyone follows Beyoncé, I mean, it’s Queen B.”

Overton agreed, referencing the popular hair-feather trend that caught on a couple of years ago. Regardless of the trends present at the time of a festival, the two agree that the biggest emphasis should be placed on personal style. 

“I think it is important to maintain your own personal style at any time,” Overton said. “Be true to yourself. I mean, that is kind of why I get annoyed at festivals. Everyone’s trying too hard.”

Hanna Munni, Loyola University communication sophomore, traveled from Chicago this year to see artists such as Lana Del Rey and Calvin Harris at ACL. Munni has attended the festival for nine years now and has noticed the affect geography has on outfit choice. 

“It is about comfort,” Munni said. “That is the one thing about ACL I noticed — there was a lot of skin exposed. I tried to focus on the experience and the setting. I based my outfit choices on who I was seeing that day.” 

Jenn Garza, associate manager of Buffalo Exchange, said that an artist’s personal style has influence over festival trends but points out that employees at stores such as Buffalo Exchange and Urban Outfitters can have a powerful influence on festival outfit choices. 

“We do a lot of observing and kind of go off of what they are already wearing,” Garza said. “They come in with their own sense of style, and we can pick up on that and piece together items we know that will fall into the trend they want to portray.”