Published in Catalogue, 2016
Between the three days I recently spent at this year’s Splendour in the Grass festival and the subsequent two days I spent horizontal on the couch watching MTV with my brain seeping out of my ears, I’ve been forced to contemplate the rampant obsession with iconicity that captivates the fashion and popular culture of young women. Specifically, I’ve been forced to think a lot about the “It” girl fantasy.
Festival fashion has always been an outlet for the more outrageous reaches of one’s wardrobe because, much like every other facet of festival behaviour, the common laws of society do not necessarily exist there. However, it seems increasingly obvious that the acceptability of festival fashion is now driven profoundly by social media appeal and the anxiety to assert oneself as a kind of icon – as an “It” girl – amidst the extensive media portrayal of other music events such as Coachella. When girls are wearing necklaces instead of bikini tops and donning only G-strings on 10-degree days, it can hardly be argued that we’re having fun on our own terms anymore.
Quite besides this, apparently MTV has started producing a show entirely dedicated to the “It” girls that pivots exclusively on the number of Instagram followers that each girl has garnered (a little number appears in a speech bubble box beside every character’s head and I’m not sure, but I believe that if you have less than 500 followers the producers just take you out to the shed and shoot you in the head like an old horse). These Insta-famous girls have been adopted by the channel and perpetuated heavily as the ‘icons’ of this generation of young women; a venture that hinges on their marketability.