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5 small brands to shop for festival-wear (plus our tips on how to stay sustainable on the festival site)

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It’s June, the sun is shining (sometimes) and festivals are back, baby. Festivals: the epitome of the joyful feeling we’re always searching for at Sbri, tied up in a mud splattered, glitter covered bow. What could be better?

For this blog post we asked our resident festival expert Carla, our marketing and graphic designer, for some advice and recommendations for first-time festival goers. Carla is a Somerset-girl and she’s been to every Glastonbury festival since 2005 (plus a fair few other festivals in between) so she’s got a lot of know-how and stories to tell. 

We’re proud to be a sustainable small business so we asked Carla for her thoughts on these two topics specifically - read on for top tips on how to have an eco-friendly festival experience, and her festival must-have recommendations from UK small businesses. AKA, how to do festivals the sbri way. Here’s what she said…

How to be eco-friendly and sustainable at a music festival

First things first: sustainability. If you’ve spent much time on our website or reading our blog you’ll know sustainability is an integral part of our business, and we always try to encourage our customers to make sustainable choices, whatever they’re doing. Festivals are an escape, a magic world of their own for just a few days, but they’re still a world that needs to be cared for and not a reason to give up your eco-endeavours. Here are five easy things you can do to be more environmentally friendly when you’re at a music festival.

1. Say no to fast fashion

Pinning down your festival vibe and planning your festi-wardrobe is all part of the experience of preparing for a music festival, and it can be tempting to rush out and buy whole new outfits for your four days on the field, but if you want to aim for a more sustainable festival experience then ditching fast fashion is the way to make an impact. We’ve talked about sustainable fashion before and if you’re a newbie let us reassure you, it’s really not as daunting as you might think (you can read all about sustainable fashion myths here). Second hand selling sites like Depop, eBay and Vinted are full of festival friendly outfits and there are some amazing small independent businesses dedicated to the festival dressing too - more on those later. Plus, outfit repeating is ab-so-lutely fine. Promise. Turning away from fast fashion will make you feel a whole lot better about your festival wardrobe and your outfits will be completely unique to you which only adds to the fun.

2. Take a reusable water bottle

This one seems like an obvious piece of advice but we’re going back to basics here: take a reusable water bottle. There is quite literally no need to be using disposable plastic water bottles in 2022 - your festival will have water refill stations and will save a huge amount of single use plastics by doing so. Plus, an insulated bottle like a Chilly’s bottle or similar will help keep your water cool too which you will definitely be grateful for on a hot and dusty day.

3. Don't throw away your tent!

It’s your home from home on the festival site, so don’t be one of those people who leave their tent behind on the campsite when their actual home is calling. A survey from the organisation Love Your Tent found that over 60% of festival goers have admitted to ditching their tent at the end of a festival, and most of those tents will have ended up in landfill. There’s something of an urban myth that all the leftover tents are donated to humanitarian charities after the festival, and while this may be true for a small number it’s certainly not the majority. So when it comes to tents, take care, take it home and bring it back next year. It just makes sense.

4. You need a decent raincoat

Even if the forecast looks great, even if it hasn’t rained for weeks - take a decent raincoat. It will keep you dry, or warm, or can be used for sitting on if nothing else, and it will stop you from panic buying a single-use disposable rain poncho that you just don’t need. If you live in Britain you will 100% have one already so be on the safe side and take it, it’s better than wearing a plastic bag. 

5. Choose biodegradable glitter

A festival wouldn’t be a festival without a bit of glitz and glam but make sure to shop the biodegradable kind rather than the micro-plastic kind. Biodegradable glitter is readily available online now and lots of festivals will have it for sale on site too (Glastonbury included) so there’s no need to cover your face in sparkly plastic anymore. Sounds a bit weird when you put it like that, actually.

The best festival-finds from UK small businesses

We are big on small businesses at Sbri, they’re the best way to find unique pieces, support your local economy and, most of all, to support the dreams of the gorgeous people who run them. Small businesses are pretty much our favourite thing. So, obviously, we had to give you some UK small business recommendations for your festival packing list, including outfits, accessories and fabulous finishing touches. Here are some of our favourites…

1. Burnt Soul

Burnt Soul are a Bristol based slow fashion brand who make the most incredible sustainable catsuits and festival-wear that are all about expressing yourself in the best possible way - we’re talking animal prints, holographics, tie dye, sparkles (sometimes all of the above). Burn Soul are a small business with sustainability at their core - all their pieces are made in small runs here in the UK, in Bristol and Exeter, they use recycled fabrics and work in ways which minimise waste. They also have built their own design lab for customers to create their very own custom made to order pieces. We’re obsessed.

2. Magic Mirror

Not exactly festival-wear but an essential for festival dressing - let us introduce you to Magic Mirror. It’s a multifunctional three-way folding travel mirror which rolls out to full length so you can inspect your outfit from head to toe when you’re getting ready for the day. The mirror can also fold to a freestanding pyramid shape and in a vanity position so you can see your hair and makeup from every angle. Magic Mirrors are handmade in the UK from a shatterproof non-glass material which makes them the perfect travel (and festival) companion. 

3. Sbri

Obviously we’re going to give a shout out to ourselves. Sbri leather accessories (that’s us, by the way) are designed to add extra joy to the everyday essentials and are perfect for days out, nights out, travelling light, and, you guessed it, festivals. Our bestselling leather coin purses are an out-and-about must have, big enough for your essential cards and coins but small enough to slip in your pocket, and our new phone pouches are the one for handsfree dancing. All Sbri accessories are handmade to order in our UK studio from sustainably sourced vegetable tanned leather and are personalised for their owner.

4. Lady Jane Sequins

Another Bristol-based small business, who sell all things sequins: sequin kimonos, sequin playsuits, sequin leggings - the lot. They are an ethical business that believes in sustainability and good working practices with full transparency in their production line. Lady Jane Sequins is based in Bristol in the summer and Bangkok in the winter, where their products are handmade by families Lady Jane met during her 30 years travelling and working in Thailand. Every single sequin is individually hand sewn to create incredible festival and party-wear which sparkles from top to toe. You can order direct from their website and you can also find Lady Jane Sequins at a number of festival sites, including Glastonbury 2022.

5. Beksie's Boutique

Finally, some more accessories to jazz up your festival looks. Beksie’s Boutique is based in Brighton and makes all kinds of festi-wear including headdresses, capes and some very sparkly bum bags. All their items are UK handmade, they are a living way employer and design all products ethically and responsibly. If you’re not ready to commit to a full sequined catsuit or sparkly outfit head to toe then Beksie’s pieces are a great shout for a little bit of glitz to your festival wardrobe.