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Going to a UK festival can be the equivalent of a cheap holiday for a student. There’s no luggage fees, travel insurance worries, or expensive club entry costs. Instead we spend an absolute fortune trying to make ourselves look casual, vintage and hipster, when all we really do is go onto Topshop’s ‘Festival Style Guide’ and buy up everything. Here’s how to do festival style on a shoestring, whilst creating one-off pieces, with a bit of make do and mend thrown in for fun.  

1. The Denim Dress


I bought this denim dress in a charity shop for the bargain price of £2.99 and when I bought it, it was floor length, hemmed and dark blue denim. I decided to revamp it, so all I did was scrunch it into a ball and stick it in a bucket of bleach for a couple of hours (mix a couple of cap-fuls of bleach with a few jug-fuls of water and you’re good to go). After an afternoon of bleaching, this was the result! When it was dry I washed it a few times to get rid of the smell, and cut off the bottom hem. Ta da! –  a casual, festival dress that no one else will own!

2. The Patchwork Skirt


Every fabric shop has books of samples that, if you ask them nicely, they might give to you for free. Somehow I acquired a book of Liberty print samples that my sister made into this beautiful patchwork skirt. All she did was join the sections, elasticate the waist and hem the bottom with a lace trim. If you don’t sew this might be a little bit tricky, but why not learn over the summer? It’s a bit see-through but I love this skirt and I’ve never seen anyone with one like it.

3. The Embroidered Dress


Ok so I’ve sort of cheated, but don’t under-estimate the power of your Mum. My Mum has kept all her clothes that she used to wear in her prime, but, fortunately for me, she’s not going to wear her velvet shirts, dungarees or embroidered dresses anymore so STEAL THEM. They’re genuinely vintage and they’ve cost you absolutely nothing! My mum gave me this beautiful dress that she picked up along her travels. Teamed with a pair of wellies, this will look wafty and bohemian chic.


I’m going to have a massive tie-dyeing session this summer and tie-dye EVERYTHING. I made these two t-shirts last year. All you need is any piece of clothing (make sure it’s 100% cotton or it won’t absorb the dye), some elastic bands, and some Dylon fabric dye (about £3 in Tescos/John Lewis). Tie, scunch or twist your t-shirt, making sure to hold it in place with lots of elastic bands, and shove it in your bucket of dye. Leave it for a few hours, rinse under cold water until it runs clean, hang it out to dry and you’ll be looking edgy as in no time. 

If all else fails (and sometimes it will) then my last piece of advice is: Primark it. I bought these two bags (above) from Primark and they have stood me in good stead through many a festival. They’re not one off pieces, but they’re super cheap and it won’t matter if you lose them! 

So there you have it: bleach, tie-dye, recycle and you’ll be looking Coachella-ready in no time. 

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