Rock bottom: Glastonbury makes it the year of the bumbag | Music

It is most definitely the year of the bumbag, if Glastonbury festival goers are anything to go by at least.

There are so many bumbags here: canvas ones covered in Gucci logos; neon pink ones shimmering with sequins; sleek leather ones and practical hi-tech ones; iridescent metallic ones slung over shoulders like holsters.

That once-maligned accessory, with all of its associations of paranoid tourists keeping their wallets where they can see them, is having such a moment that the crowd at the Pyramid stage looks like a Mr Motivator convention.

The rise of the bumbag is indicative of a broader fashion learning from Pilton: that ugly-pretty chic has reached critical mass. That is, the kind of awkward high concept designs spearheaded by the likes of Miuccia Prada on the catwalk – hiking gear as a fashion consideration; the anorak as a hero item as seen also at Balenciaga; the rise of clothes which invite their wearer to look beyond mere glamour and challenge their preconceptions – have made it to Worthy Farm, Somerset.

So at Glastonbury, the looks that would win a place on best-dressed lists are not obviously pretty or flattering. They are the men and women in Carhartt boiler suits made of stiff, dark denim, or those pairing geeky cargo shorts with a plain black T-shirt and this season’s beat-up, greying Reebok Club C trainer.

The high fashion aware are just a small subsection of the crowd, however, with the dominant aesthetic being less subtle and far more attention-grabbing. If you climb the ribbon tower in the Park stage and look down at the crowd you will see a sea of people who glitter and shine. There are sequins and glitter everywhere – tiny shimmers stuck on chests and cheekbones and combed into beards, expanses on full-length coats fashioned from large palette sequins.

Many of the looks at the festival appear to have been brainstormed in advance in the interests of getting likes on Instagram. In some sections of the farm it feels, quite literally, as though the internet has come to life, so directly are its tropes and memes replicated.

There are girls wearing Frida Khalo-esqe flower crowns that seem to have been inspired by Snapchat filters; there are boys dressing up as emoji, wearing unicorn horns and flamenco sunglasses.



Glastonbury festival goers. Photograph: Smiejkowska/Rex/Shutterstock

There is a proliferation of -shirts with socially conscious or ironically referential slogans – Katharine Hamnett’s famous Choose Life T-shirt has become Choose NHS; the famous black and white Sonic Youth T-shirt becomes Islamic Youth; people are wearing the National Rail logos and Corbyn with a Nike swoosh on their chests. These are multi-layered internet culture jokes come to life. People are like walking Instagram posts, wearing their own captions.

There is a final strain of Glastonbury fashion that also comes straight from the web: a tribe of mainly young women who have drawn from the Gigi Hadid/Kendall Jenner/Coachella school of dressing, bringing crop tops and bralettes to the festival.

What that means is a lot of body on show – abs out, thighs bare under very short shorts. So polished are this tribe – so precisely do their outfits appear to have been planned, so inexplicably clean is their hair – that they almost make you feel nostalgic for the festival fashion in the noughties, when its ultimate icons, Kate Moss in mid-splattered Hunters or Alexa Chung in a Barbour jacket, at least occasionally wore clothes large enough to have pockets in which they might conceivably have kept a wet wipe.

We know where people are keeping their wet wipes this year, of course – whether they are the high fashion anorak-wearers or the glitter-covered Snapchat kids or the abs-bearing Gigi Hadid disciples. They are kept in the one accessory that unites them all: their bumbags.


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