Local clothing brands offer alternatives to corporate festival fashion


DSC_2939_cred LizzieRoseforweb.jpg

“Back when I started going to festivals, you’d care about what you wore,” says Arly Stroben, owner of the local festival wear brand The Thriftsy Gypsy. Stroben has been going to music festivals for eight years, and while she says it’s always been important to show up looking good, wearing unique and bold looks has become increasingly more of  “a thing.”

As festival fashion became popularized over the past decade, corporate brands such as Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters launched clothing lines marketed specifically to festivalgoers. But local clothing brands have been carving their way into the scene, injecting it with unique pieces.

“I do a lot of up-cycling,” says Stroben. “I go thrifting and I find something with a really cool print but that’s very outdated and grandma-ish. I’ll put a new spin on it and make it sexy, make it cute and make it very festival-driven.”

Stroben started The Thriftsy Gypsy only about a year ago after taking sewing courses at Palomar College. What started as an Etsy account has since turned into a legitimate website  and, most recently, a small live-work space in Oceanside. From there and online, she sells color-bursting fur-trimmed coats, matching two-piece sets, bodysuits, accessories and more. Stroben will be attending and vending at the upcoming Desert Hearts Festival, which is run by San Diego-based Desert Hearts, a DJ crew and record label.

Another local festival clothing brand to look out for is Little Black Diamond by local Adrienne Shon, who specializes in shimmering, psychedelic jackets, bikini bottoms, harnesses and everything in between. Meanwhile, East Village-based clothing brand Damascus Apparel caters to musical circles who favor crisp, black and white designs.

“Black and white is bold, and it really stands out when it’s done right,” says Damascus Co-Founder Nate Khouli.

Damascus has also worked with countless DJs to create shirts, hoodies and outerwear since 2008.

“Our brand is a way of saying ‘Hey I’m more of a creative type, and I’m open and seeking to create with other creative types,’” says Khouli.

In each of their own rights, the brands are catering to festivalgoers who crave originality.

“People want to look good and they want to feel good,” says Stroben. “They want the coolest thing they could possibly wear, the most stand-out pieces.”