The history of festival clothing: from tie-dye to harem pants

Let’s just imagine for a moment, the year is 1969 and over 400,000 music lovers and free lovin’ hippies gather to hear Joan Baez, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix. It would become one of the most important moments in music history. Nearly half a million people lived in peace for three days, discussing political ideas and helping with food and accommodation. Incredibly, Woodstock happened without the security we see at festivals these days.

To claim that festival clothing started in this one watershed moment would be a half truth. It was epitomized, if not highlighted by the people and culture of Woodstock. If we’re really going to explore this subject, we need to look at the history of each individual item. From tie dye fabric to harem pants, Trancentral looks at the roots and evolution of your favorite festival clothing staples.


Psytrance tie dye clothing 

No psytrance wardrobe is complete without a colorful psychedelic tie-dye psytrance t-shirt or hoodie. The concept of clothing being tied and dyed is not new. The earliest examples originate from pre-Columbian, Peru. Japan had one of the richest legacies of tie-dyeing with Shibori, which dates back to the 8th century. Similarly, India and West Africa developed their own techniques.  Tie dye was popularized in the United States in the early 20th century by Columbia University professor, Charles E. Pellow, who gave a live demonstration of the technique. 

Psychedelic tie-dying reached peak popularity in the 1960s with rock stars like John Sebastian. It’s become something of a modern classic in its own right. With COVID-19, many of us tried to make our own tie dye tapestries in an effort to psytrance party at home

Trancentral psytrance tie dye hoodie

Tie dye is still an important staple of any psytrance wardrobe. Trancentral updates the classic hoodie with a colorful mandala, taking inspiration from the 1960s and 1970s fashion and the psychedelic art that emerged from the music and culture with an acid twist. 


Goa psytrance crop tops

Crop tops are not new, they’ve existed in many ancient cultures across time from the Egyptians to Ancient India. In India, the sari is worn with a short top called a choli. While it took some time for the trend to reach Europe and the United States, midriff-baring tops were first spotted worn by belly dancers from the east. In 1893, the crop top was introduced to crowds at the World's Fair in Chicago, introducing Americans to the concept of a crop top. Although variations of the crop top appeared, like the tie shirt, it wasn’t until the sexual revolution of the late 1960s and early 1970s that the crop top became a wardrobe staple, fueled by festival culture. 

Festival clothing crop top

No festival wardrobe is complete without a crop top. Trancentral has a wide range of tops in different shapes and fabrics in celebration of body positivity and individuality. A midriff top is a great way to honor Goa & psytrance culture, whether you’re chilling on your terrace or you’ve made it to a psychedelic event near you. 


Festival cargo pants

It may come as no surprise that cargo pants first appeared in military uniforms of the 20th century. They’ve become a festival staple in recent years thanks to their large pockets and ample storage space. The battle trousers were first worn by members of the British Armed Forces in 1938. Later, cargo pants became popular in the United States in the mid-1940 and early 1950s after World War II.

Trancentral psytrance cargo pants_festival clothing

The pockets that are so favored by festival goers were first used by the British forces to hold an assortment of items like field dressings, maps, and other useful tools. Cargo pants are still used to store useful items, but the definition of “useful” varies from one person to the next ;). You can find a wide range of cargo pants and festival trousers on Trancentral’s website. 


Goa & psytrance festival harem pants

Harem pants are probably one of the comfiest festival fashion staples. Their loose fit and breathable fabric make them a top choice for any event, but don’t be fooled by their soft silhouette. This garment has a long and rebellious history. Harem pants made a resurgence in the 90s, thanks to hip hop. However, they’ve been around for much longer, nearly two thousand years, tracing its roots to the dhoti worn in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Iran. The style was introduced in the west in an unexpected way by women’s right activist Amelia Bloomer, who raged against the cumbersome fashion of the mid-1800s and began wearing bloomer harem pants, unthinkable for a woman.   

Trancentral goa and psytrance festival harem pants


Trancentral has a wide range of unisex harem pants with vintage-inspired or Far East prints. Lightweight and breathable, they can be worn around the house or easily packed for your next psytrance event. 



Festival holsters & belt bags

Holsters have made a resurgence of late. It’s easy to see the appeal as an alternative to belt bags. Taking inspiration from the holsters used in the 1850s to hold hand guns, they allow quick access to your festival party essentials. The western holster first grew in popular at the end of the Civil War and continues to grow in popularity with its functional design. 

Trancentral festival belt bag holster

Trancentral Shop offers a range of hand-made and hand-finished festival pocket belts and and shoulder holsters. Made from fabric and leather, these forever pieces will complete any outfit and are easy to slip on and off, allowing you to move freely and dance without being weighed down. 


The history of festival clothing is as rich and diverse as the people, who frequented these events. No one influence or person can be attributed to the rise of festival clothing. It is a collective movement as much about personal freedom as expression. Taking inspiration from the Far East, Middle East and the Hippy Trippy movement of the 1960s, Goa and psytrance fans embody the free-lovin’ outlook of their predecessors. From festival tops to harem pants, festival clothing is about freedom of movement, allowing ourselves to lose ourselves to music and our natural surroundings.


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