ViSenze Blog

Festival Fashion: Retail’s Greatest Opportunity and How to Tap Into It

Posted by Oliver Tan 31-August-2017

Throughout history, music festivals have driven social and cultural revolutions. Events like Woodstock promoted “peace and music” in a time of political unrest and others like Live Aid drew attention to humanitarian crises on a global scale. And though some of today’s festivals tout worthwhile causes to their lineups, something far different is drawing people into their venues today - fashion.


“Festival style” is a movement of its own, creating a loyal following of customers hoping to don the trendiest looks at the year’s most popular music events. Similar to Fashion Week, festivals allow consumers everywhere - whether attending an event or not - to view the latest styles that often translate into everyday wear. The events themselves saw a significant rise in popularity over the past few years, with the top 20 festivals in the world averaging approximately 72,000 attendees per day. Brands are picking up on the popularity of festivals and the new style developed with them, with retailers like Forever 21 collaborating with influencers to create exclusive collections for the festival season and ecommerce players like ASOS curating entire stores to highlight the attire. In a short period of time, festivals moved from nondescript events that only select individuals attended to cultural phenomenons that now mark the fifth fashion season of the year.

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The rapid development and growth of festival style is directly correlated to the rise of social media. As friends, influencers, and celebrities post their looks from Coachella or Burning Man, followers are immediately exposed to new moments of fashion inspiration that they often look to mimic in their own lives. The problem, however, is that there isn’t always an easy way to find the exact outfit or accessories seen in the posts that users are admiring when someone doesn’t tag the retailer. Consumers resort to text-based searches to find similar items but fall short due to lackluster search capabilities that almost never coincide with retailers’ taxonomies. For example, if someone is inspired by Kendall Jenner’s look from this year’s Coachella, they might use the terms “Metallic Silver Crop Top” or “Kendall Jenner Metallic Silver Crop Top Coachella” to find her shirt on Google. The results? The former returns almost 11,000 options and the latter delivers almost 600,000! Needless to say, users are in need of a far more sophisticated method for finding the festival-inspired items they so desperately covet.

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Retailers also stand to benefit from an improved way to search for items posted to social feeds during festival season. The ability to drive consumers directly back to their website by offering an exact match, or a visually similar item for purchase, significantly shortens the path to purchase and eliminates the frustration and confusion often associated with manually searching for items. This not only results in increased revenue for retailers, but also instills a sense of loyalty from consumers as they understand the ease and efficiency that that brand delivers.

Many retailers are already investing in ways to ease the path to purchase on social platforms for shoppers. Some are investing in tools that enable them to promote products via an influencer’s Instagram feed, and others are following suit with the likes of Google and Pinterest by implementing visual search tools that allow customers to easily identify items with the help of image recognition technology. Shoppers are able to take photographs or upload photos of products they’re interested in to have visually similar items recommend that are available for immediate purchase. Brands that invest in technologies like these will see their products recommended across social, publisher, and ecommerce platforms, significantly increasing the likelihood of being found at the moment of inspiration.

Text-based search offers endless return options for shoppers to sift through and eventually purchase from, making it difficult for brands to stand out from the crowd despite their unique product offerings. With a modern strategy to tackle festival season - inclusive of new modes of searching - it completely changes the game for brands. Shoppers are able to easily identify elusive items worn by their favorite influencers as soon as they are seen, and brands are able to drive revenue back to their ecommerce sites. For brands that are investing in creating and selling festival-inspired merchandise, it is vital to also invest in a way for shoppers to locate the items, no matter what social platform they garner inspiration from.

Image Credits: Hypebae, ASOS

  E-commerce,   Deep learning,   Visual Search,   Opinion pieces