Due to the festival’s unique location, functionality has been the priority in EXIT attire for years. Comfortable footwear, a warm layer for colder mornings, a bandana for keeping the dust out of your lungs, and sunglasses for the lasers, dazzling lights and sun over the Varadin bridge. However, over the last few years, comfort and functionality have been relegated in favour of creativity. We have all contributed with our personal interpretation of the festival expressed through clothing. Thus, every year, aside from being the biggest party, EXIT becomes a unique fashion ecosystem, a sort of mid-festival fashion week.
Everyone takes part in the fashion game. Performers, visitors, and employees. That is what made it a spectacle within a spectacle — we were all part of it. The fashion at the Fortress keeps up with the beat. Just as each stage brings its own sound, so each of us contributes to the colourful crowd that makes EXIT what it is. That is why after each EXIT, we get articles dealing exclusively with what each performer wore and how their performance was executed visually. Not to push music aside but to support its power.
Our choice of clothes for the festival plays a multitude of roles, the foremost, aside from function, being affirmation. Our clothes speak for us. Because of this, each stage is sure to have a completely different fashion landscape.
However, people have been increasingly mixing up everything they love into completely unique fashion choices that we adore. With the arrival of hybrids to the music industry, such forms are seen in fashion as well. The diversity that the festival has proudly presented over the years is also apparent in our “get-ups.” Each stage has its unique style, but it is particularly great to see them mix up with every person seemingly saying, “yes, I am all this and more.”
You may not see any sequins at Explosive. But the t-shirt depicting your favourite band that you’ve worn since elementary school, referred to as “vintage” by fashion laymen, will be a statement in every corner of the festival — starting from this stage. The Dance Arena dictates something else entirely. Sequins, neon, glitter on faces, accidentally and intentionally torn pieces of clothing, tracksuits, tops, sheer fabrics… In other words, anything goes. Pachamama calls for kaftans, arabesques, tie-dye, gaudy pants, boho princesses and princes, knit shirts, mom’s floral dresses from the eighties. Fusion has it all. A dynamic line-up brings a vibrant crowd, with musical and fashion preferences changing after each show. Finally, everyone gets mixed up at the Main Stage, and often the people underneath the fireworks look like the fireworks themselves. Colourful, explosive, bright, beautiful.
Each piece of clothing and outfit has its place at the Fortress at that moment. That’s why the festival can sometimes look like New York street style and other times like the set of a spaghetti western, or a punk gig. We bring all of that to the festival in our interpretation of the event’s meaning.
The essence of festival style is what we would interpret as too much in the real world. But that’s the way it should be. Exaggerated, striking, eccentric, honest. It should be a mix of everything that music evokes in us; it should reflect our character and desire for liberation through music and fashion. No faking. Everything is allowed, anything is possible, and anything goes, and no one does it better than the EXIT crowd. In many ways, this post is a love letter addressed to the people who experience festival fashion as an integral part of EXIT because it absolutely is.
Written by: Milica Dragomirović