5 tips for sustainable festival fashion – to spark conversations and look amazing

Festival outfits have a bad rap environmentally, for being all about single-use polyester and sequins. Here’s a better way to dress for a festival, and let your threads do the talking…


YAY! Festival season is here! One of the best things about festivals is getting dressed up in cute, curated festival outfits. 

Whether a dress-up theme, an homage to an artist you want to see, or just the rare opportunity to wear something a little bit different – a festival is the ultimate fashion canvas.

But the wear-once festival outfits on fast fashion sites are nearly always made from polyester. Polyester is plastic. It is made from oil. And when you care about a warming planet, it’s just not cool anymore.

Three reasons to quit polyester festival outfits

It’s bad for the planet

Polyester is a type of plastic, which is made of oil. It’s cheap, so it’s massively overproduced. It releases microplastics into water when washing. And it can’t be recycled.

It’s bad for people

Fast fashion is made by (mostly women) workers who are paid poverty-level wages for long hours in dangerous factories. It often ends up as waste exported abroad, polluting villages and beaches.

It’s bad for you

Long, sundrenched days dancing in unbreathable plastic clothing will make you sweat pretty hard. This could be really bad for your health. Not ideal for the best days of your life.

Here’s how to make sure your festival fashion is as friendly to the planet as that stranger you met in the burrito queue.

1. Shop your wardrobe – and go vintage

Resist the urge to buy new, just because you’re going to a festival. Don’t buy into the wasteful culture of buying hauls of poor quality, nearly single-use fast fashion clothing that everyone else is wearing. 

Start by looking at what you already have. This is one of the best things about festival season! It’s the perfect time to dig up those slightly-too-garish garms you love but can’t really wear anywhere else.

And if you really need something you don’t already own, buy second hand. Find your own unique style – one that will stand the test of time. It’s just more fun to festival in outfits unique to you.

2. Plan your outfits, day by day

Planning your outfits with some level of precision is wise. Check the lineup – and the weather! – and have a layering system. UK festivals will always get a little cold at night, and sometimes will be sweltering during the day, so plan accordingly. 


Greenpeace UK Festival Collection

Elevate your festival look with our exclusive Greenpeace UK Festival Collection! Stand out from the crowd in eco-conscious designs that speak volumes for the planet. Get ready to dance the night away with style and purpose.

If you need something practical – like a raincoat or wellies – again don’t buy new if you can help it. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll find in charity shops, or on Vinted or Depop (just make sure you order in good enough time).

And whether your preferred tee is sleeveless, oversized, slouchy, or retro-inspired – the Greenpeace Shop has you covered. Literally.

3. Seek out sustainable brands

Look, not all clothing is made from plastic, or in awful conditions. We might be a bit biased, but Greenpeace’s own T-shirts and sweaters are probably about as sustainable as clothing gets

Made from breathable organic materials, Greenpeace tees are put together in ethical factories powered by 100% renewable energy. And, they’re printed to order – meaning no chance of overproduction that turns into waste.

Get your festival outfit ready with this vibrant illustrated t-shirt which celebrates the myriad of ways Greenpeace has been defending the planet since 1971.

And there are loads of brands that make ethical and sustainable festival-ready threads for romping around in.

One of the best is Fuud London, and its story is an inspiring one. While it started as a heavily-sequined, and faux-furred festival offering, the brand soon saw the light. It banned all that plastic and now makes incredible boiler suits from vintage fabrics, for example. If they’re good enough for Sex Education’s Eric…

4.  Choose a conversation starter

A woman smiling on a beach with a vintage sleeping bag (a fabric patterned with grey, teal, turquoise, purple, pink and yellow).

Some of the best pieces to wear at a festival are the ones that are so fabulous or thought-provoking, they can’t help but spark a conversation.

A unique vintage find that’s clearly over half a century old is one option. (Hello 70s glam! Just remember the underarm shield (aka sweat pads) if it’s a polyester top or dress!)

Something upcycled from a vintage fabric that’s become cool again, like Fuud’s suits, is another. It was literally made for me, and no sorry, it’s not for sale.

In both scenarios, you’ll get people running across fields to ask you about it. (Trust me – I get this everytime I wear my Fuud London upcycled 1980s sleeping bag dryrobe-style jacket.)

And a simple slogan or graphic tee – or one with a thought-provoking design – will also do the trick. 

Greenpeace’s recent collaboration with Oliver Jeffers brings out the whimsical illustrator’s philosophical side – and might do the same for you and your new festival bestie.

5.  Get crafty – or just show your love for the artists

If there’s a dress-up theme, or you just have a vision for your look and a little bit of time, make something! 

It doesn’t have to be too elaborate a project. Customising with tie-dye (or even making) a bucket hat will give you something unique to cherish forever.

Extra points if you can make a costume with only found or recycled materials. (I’ll never forget seeing Triton wafting around in a cape made of plastic bottle tops, collected over months, old fishing nets, and other flotsam and jetsam. Perfect for the carnival’s Under the Sea theme. Majestic.)

Finally, don’t forget the very reason you’re at the festival in the first place – the artists! Tour merch and band tees are a brilliant way to show your love for the music that’s shaped your life.

And if you’re into touring-style tees, you might want to check out Greenpeace’s own world tour – to protect the oceans. Endorsed by our very own shipmate, Dan from Bastille. Also available in navy (naturally).


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