It’s hard not to think of music festivals without conjuring the image of Coachella-esque fashion, booze and hundreds of people dancing sultrily to the music.
This year’s Ultra Music Festival is no exception.
While guys flaunt their #ULTRAReady bods in their unbuttoned floral Zara shirts and Bermudas, the girls were rocking crop tops and rompers with their hair done up in Chun-Li inspired buns or two-sided braids. The EDM festival also saw ridiculous amounts of bandanas and body glitter, to the extent that they are probably sold out islandwide due to the excessive demand.
Held at an extensive (and muddy) open field with last year’s Ultra gathering over 45,000 party-goers, it’s understandable why most of us wouldn’t show up in jeans, hoodies, or evening dresses to a music festival.
Some, however, disagree and expressed their disdain towards the fashion choices made by the girls who attended Ultra. With over a thousand retweets, it seems that many shared the same sentiment as Twitter user A.
Now, before any of you decide to call me out for it, let it be known that I’m guilty of wearing the aforementioned “Chinese girl uniform”.
She’s not wrong, this formula seems to be copied and pasted onto the other thousands of people at Ultra, making my life a rerun of Fashion Police episodes where my friends would poke fun at me by constantly asking “who wore it better?” whenever they spotted other girls wearing the same outfit as me: a $15 black lace bralette top from TEMT.
Weirdly enough, even after all my run-ins with my fashion clones, never once have I shared A’s stance on the girls’ fashion at Ultra. In fact, her statement brings to light an even greater issue that precedes poor fashion choices: an epidemic that is girl-on-girl hate.
A manifestation of internalised misogyny, girl-on-girl hate is prevalent in most of our daily lives. Whether we’re aware of it, it’s present in the way we dole out snarky remarks about other women’s behaviour or dressing and comment things like “I’m not like other girls”, or “girls are so dramatic, I prefer hanging out with guys,” mostly to receive validation from or fit in with men.
A relevant example would be the fairly recent sex tapes leak of a few local influencers. A trending topic among Singaporeans, males and females alike, people were bursting at the seams with unfounded criticism.
What shocked me the most was when a female friend of mine commented that the victim of the leaked private tapes is a “stupid slut” for filming a personal video with her long-time partner whom she’s in a committed relationship with. Not only that, she prides on coming up with countless derogatory comments aimed at influencers who are empowered by a more risqué dressing style.
Similarly, I can’t help but see A’s comments on the girls’ outfits at Ultra as seemingly laced with internalised misogyny.
It’s important to note that us girls aren’t the only ones who had a template like dress code at the festival. The guys present had on a “uniform” too: beach shorts paired with muscle tanks and/or tropical button up shirts, although most would end up shirtless by the end of a set anyway.
Yet us girls were the ones mainly subjected to the criticism, and therein lies the problem.
Should Twitter user A’s main concern be based solely on the fashion choices made at Ultra, my reply to that is simple: it’s a music festival, chill out.
First and foremost, It’s safe to say that everyone’s main objective for the 2-day event is to enjoy the music and have a good time. It doesn’t matter what we’re wearing as long as it’s comfortable and able to withstand the nine hours of heat, sweat, bustle, and the inescapable body contact with the crowd. For some, a comfortable party outfit could be a unicorn onesie (you do you!), but for others, lingerie and crop tops fit the bill.
Unlike the usual happy hour and ladies night at Clarke Quay, Ultra or any other music festivals, for instance, is not an everyday occurrence. Undoubtedly, many of us revel in the hours spent prepping ourselves up for the occasion. As with all night outs, we want to look alluring and feel confident. Some do so with minimal clothing while some dress up to the nines. It’s a once in a year (or lifetime for some) event and we shouldn’t bash someone up for the outfits that they wear, or the lack of it.
No matter how hard I try, I just can’t seem to understand why people are being so uptight over one’s outfit of choice at Ultra. Personally, I’m of the viewpoint that the “Chinese girl uniform” I wore to Ultra can easily be worn at Good Vibes Festival or even ZoukOut. Simply because it’s something I feel comfortable and confident in. Even Ultra Singapore First Timer’s Guide urges us to simply wear “comfortable clothing and shoes”, so unless there’s a specific dress code for each music festival, I don’t get why we can’t dress however we want.
Bottom line is we’re here to party, not to be critiqued for what we decide to wear to a music festival. Sure, some of us might dress like your typical influencers in our bikini tops and summer shorts or even #doitforthegram but why are we nitpicking over such minute details?
As long as our outfits aren’t culturally offensive (read: Native American headdress, bindi, cornrows etc), then it shouldn’t matter that we’re clones of one another in our glitter-coated bodies and double xiao long bao hair. Life’s too short to dwell on such inconsequential things.
At the end of the day, music festivals are meant for us to rave and have a good time, so let’s do just that.