Pitchfork Music Festival 2009: Fashion
The photos above are from the 2009 Pitchfork Music Festival which took place this past weekend in Chicago. I’ve attended this festival since its inception and started capturing style at the festival in 2007. With several of them under my belt, I can honestly say that the indie spirit the fest once had is gone and with that, went the style. I understand that the weather had a great influence on the attire this year but rain isn’t a good enough excuse for leaving your style at home(Hello, LONDON!).
In general, Pitchfork Fest is notorious for being a hipster mating ground but this year it was just about as “hipster” as being at a Cubs game. The area was littered with people in absurd get ups (i.e. banana suits, alien costumes), what some probably assumed were hipsters, but from my perspective, was mainly full of families with their children and bros.
After editing my film I was left thinking, “Where were all the cool people, the people that actually visit the website on a daily basis??”.
The pictures I took are not necessarily of people I thought were the style setters of the fest but stylish/interesting people that stood out, in one way or another, from the crowd.
Judge for yourself. Mainstream or ‘Just Right’ for the Pitchfork crowd. If you were there, I want to hear your thoughts, too.
On the other hand, the music, SPOT ON and Wayne Coyne will forever hold a piece of my heart.
What's Your Reaction?
Hm. I see a lot of comfy, cute style here … some of it a little predictable, but nothing downright boring. LOVE the lady in the yellow flowered dress.
Monica! the cool people were in the handmade/Coterie tent vending!
well maybe pitchfork has lost it’s coolness factor. not even hipsters care about the site much. maybe pitchfork along with the fest…has jumped the shark? lost its charm?
Some of the outfits were cute, but overall, the styles were predictable. I’ve never been to pitchfork and could care less about concerts, etc, but am a huge street fashion junkie and these fashions seem done, 2 years ago, boring, blah, etc. I want to see the crazies, the avant-garde, the over the top, the streets… overall, i think chicago fashion, at least on the nwside side, has improved!
This is my second Pitchfork (I’m not actually from here) and it’s the first time I go there for pictures. I thought it was pretty good. I was there for a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon and found pretty interesting people. The only thing that’s inexcusable for me are girls wearing uncomfortable shoes… That doesn’t make sense at all in a setting like that. As for style… as long as it’s authentic it’s good.
LOVE the guy in a vest (#5)
Please check my pictures at http://chicagolooks.blogspot.com/. thanks!!
Been there every year and didn’t notice any discernible change in atmosphere or fashion this time around. Perhaps it is the flaneur who have grown up and become more predictable? But some thoughts:
Pitchfork’s MO has always been to hold an affordable festival, an alternative to the Lollas of the world. As such, maybe people are just scrimping. doesn’t cost a lot to be ‘avant garde’ I’m sure, but still, maybe some people who would have gone over the top were holding back for other reasons.
anytime you get thousands of people at an event you are going to get a wide slice of humanity. there are gonna be bros and families and less fashionable folk.
all in all i thought there was some great fashion. people who would downplay that are just being a snobby grumpus.
I didn’t attend the festival, but find your commentary a bit irritating. I’m with you up to the point where you note that “the indie spirit the fest once had is gone and with that, went the style.” The rest is just annoying.
Is the festival about music or is it about being a ‘hipster’? Does it make you a ‘hipster’ if you drop in on Pitchfork daily? (Pitchfork is not the ultimate indie music guide, sorry). Can a person appreciate or play music without being stylish? Can “cool people” dress normally? Should families and bros be excluded from enjoying the music because they’re not hipster enough? Hmmmm….
I’m a person with a strong interest in style, but just because people don’t necessarily follow hipster trends doesn’t mean they’re not interesting! This has been a waste of my time and yours. Have a great day!
I think the girls in the first two photos have a very comfortable without trying too hard style. The other styles are interesting, but I agree that the actual “style” is missing and it lies more or less on trends.
I didn’t get a chance to go to the Pitchfork Festival this year, but I did drive past many times and took a glance at what the folks were wearing, but I didn’t really see anything that caught my eye. I wonder once festivals become really popular and trendy, that’s what happens to the fashion as well.
I’m the girl w/ the Indian necklace and blue dress (thanks for the mention!). I dunno about the fest losing its charm–I’ve been to every incarnation since its inception, and the vibe is about the same (although whatever year Man Man came was by far the best). I guess there’s just a wider array of people this time around–more Chads and Trixies than before, perhaps? As for fashion–I suppose it’s all subjective, no? I know I basically put on something that I wouldn’t mind running around in all day.
This post wasn’t a waste of my time because I truly enjoy
the feedback and hearing what others have to say about this particular subject.
Aside from that, I’m sorry to hear you feel that way about my OPINION.
Just to let you know, this particular post has nothing to do with
the music. I was focusing in on the style portion of the festival, which I do every year. The Pitchfork MUSIC Fest is clearly about the MUSIC but as a person with “a strong interest in style”, you should know better than anyone else that music and fashion go hand and hand. Therefore, if you go to an INDEPENDANT music festival, you expect to see people who dress INDEPENDANT of trends. Stylesetters, if you will. Which, I did not really see this year.
Unfortunately, I think your anger may have shielded your eyes from reading the words that were actually written.
Thanks for stopping by!
Love the first girl wearing a denim jacket! 🙂
I don’t know what exactly you were looking for at this festival that isn’t pictured above. I see a lot of hipsters dressing in their normal/comfortable attire for a music festival. Isn’t that what you would expect? I think that people dressed appropriately for the weather, and since the festival ran allllll day long (with no in/outs) everyone had to “dress down” a bit – if you will. We all know that our most fashionable/interesting clothes aren’t our most comfortable so I don’t see why anyone being outside all day in crappy weather would want to dress their best.
Also I think that “hipster” or “indie” style is in general becoming more mainstream so everything you see isn’t going to be as shocking as it was a few years ago. Urban Outfitters, H&M, American Apparel, etc are places that everyone and their grandmother shops at nowadays so it is very easy to achieve an indie look.
This was my first year at pitchfork so I didn’t really know what to expect. I did see a lot more bro-types than I expected but as long as everyone was there supporting music they love then that is all that matters. To me, anyway.
Love the blog! Thanks
i completely agree with you about there being a lot of *cough*
interesting styles at pitchfork this year…
there was no shortage of gross man feet in leather flip flops,
argo shorts, and logo shirts.
but what IS fantastic is that there are so many different people
supporting the independent music that we love!
one of my favorite moments at the festival was watching a
gaggle of dude-brahs totally rock out to the thermals…
saying things like “who are they? they’re AWESOME!”…
maybe this festival gave some of its attendees a dose of
culture that they hadn’t experienced before. maybe, just
maybe these less-than-cool kids will come back next year,
with a unique style of their own, and a great appreciation for talented musicians.
or maybe it was just an excuse for a lot of people to get f$%&ed up on Sparks.
The so-called “problem” is that Pitchfork Music Festival keeps getting bigger and bigger every year due to the fact that independent music (or mainstream “indie” sounding music) today has garnered much more media exposure in the past few years. What most young and vague 20somethings are wearing, doing, listening to and watching today is a bigger generic re-hash of the unique and progressive happenings from a few years ago. Pitchfork.com, and the staggering upwelling of style sites everywhere factor into this as well. Honestly the line between mainstream and alternative has become so blurred nowadays.
Hmm this is funny. I am in one of the pictures you took. I find the styles taken above to be pretty dull, but the poor angle of the shots may have been more distracting than the outfits.
But from what I recall, i found your outfit to be pretty awful. That’s unfortunate. but thanks for trying.
I’m not certain if I should be offended by your commentary, but I actually don’t give a shit.
I just think that it is a mistake to judge people the way you have in this post. Why not just post the pictures and let them speak for themselves, or add something positive about why you captured each person – and let people make their own assessments in the comments? This is one of the reasons The Sartorialist is so successful. He doesn’t harbor any negativity or rock anyone’s boat. That seems to be what you’re doing here and it gives the entire site a snarky/unapproachable vibe, which drives people away.
Nevertheless, I think all of these people look very cute and there is a variety to the styles. Just as anywhere you go there will always be a great spectrum of styles and people and I do think there were lots of really unique styles there. This is evident in a lot of Clayton Hauck’s photos from the festival that he has on Flickr:
I think maybe you just missed some of them.
If you are that displeased by ‘the styles taken above’, the poor angle of my
shots, my awful outfit, and (possibly) my commentary, I would be more than happy to take your photo down.
Just say the word: [email protected]
I have attended Pitchfork the past 3 years and I thought there were some great outfits (I gotta say, I was workin’ it more than most of the pictures you shot and was very comfortable throughout the weekend).
I don’t understand why you decided to waste your time shooting “non-stylesetters” and then complain about them not being up to your standards?
As a street style photographer, shouldn’t you have an eye for
selecting the best of your surroundings
(and also crediting the stylish instead of discrediting the people you shot)?
Well, I suppose you don’t have to do ANY of those things,
but most people would assume you would.
I’ll also add, though I’m not sure if it’s been mentioned,
there were an estimated 50,000 people at Pitchfork…
surely you didn’t see everyone that was dressed to your
I know I was all over the place and saw some stellar outfits. Just sayin.
Eeek to the picture of the girl in the oversized shirt and too-small sized jean shorts… For such a cute figure, she really cut it up and accentuated things in a less-than-flattering style.
Also, why in the world did you include the girl in the t-shirt with the jacket wrapped around her waste? It really wasn’t a stylish outfit, but on top of that, it really didn’t seem to be a disaster…more just a look that says “just rolled out of bed and headed on over, don’t really care what I look like”…
I find it really off putting that you
complain about not having sufficient enough
material to shoot at this year’s Pitchfork,
but yet you still put pictures up of people in
outfits you deem just worthy enough. It isn’t very gracious,
it makes you and your blog seem really second rate and
amateur, and it leaves a bad taste in your viewers’ mouth.
If what you are trying to achieve is to inspire the
Chicago fashion scene then a little less of a
judgmental attitude and a lot more of a
documentarian’s approach needs to be taken on your part.
Sad because Chicago really needs a good Fashion blog and this
kind of approach is simply embarrassing.
The alien costumes – that would be associated with the Flaming Lips set, right? I saw a bunch of guys dressed up in ridiculous outfits specifically for the Flaming Lips on Sunday. So it had little to do with the absurd and everything to do with the aesthetics of the Flaming Lips. And many Flaming Lips fans are so rabid that I can imagine that they would wear costumes all 3 days of the fest, not just Sunday.
Also – I went to the Festival only on Sunday, but I saw plenty of interesting sartorial choices. I saw a kid with a baseball cap that was actually basket – a little basket as the cap itself, and even a wicker brim. He was with a girl who certainly had her own style – I would have classified her as a fashion eccentric. Regardless of her eccentricity, she was committed to a look that was unlike anyone else’s there.
Having gone to the festival for a few years now myself, I’d say that this year’s fashion choices were at least more varied than what I saw last year – last year, everyone was wearing duplicates. Boys and girls all had neon dunks and there were a million girls in the same American Apparel skirt. This year, at least, the only duplicitous item I saw were Wilco t-shirts.
I forgot to add before – regarding your comment on there being families at the festival… Okay. Kids can be annoying. Having little kids at a festival probably immediately brands it as not cool. But really, I hope that my kids are so well behaved that I can expose them to the things I love – including music – and that I don’t have to give up the life that I enjoyed just because I became a breeder. (Yeah I don’t exactly want my kids to hear some of the conversations I overheard, but the idea that I could have a cool little family is nice.)
Just because there are kids and families there doesn’t make it uncool. I am a mother of 2 children and I like to expose them to lots of different things–my kids are actually a lot more unique, original, and interesting than most adults I know–and can hold pretty awesome conversations. I agree with some of the comments above, the tone of the article sounded pretty judgmental.
I really like your site! You spot some really cool fashions!
This may be hard for someone who judges everyone by what they’re wearing to understand, but some people don’t care what you think and just want to be comfortable and have fun. If I’m going to be outside all day at a summer music concert, I’m going to just put on a t-shirt and shorts. Maybe that makes me a “bro” but I enjoyed myself and was not disappointed by how everyone else chose to dress themselves.
I think you’re right to say that the fashion was mostly dull. The word “Pitchfork” should strike reverent fear in the hearts of indie hipsters. One would hope that would translate to festival attire. A few looks that are well put together and well thought out (love the hat in the first look, and long lace over-shirt) … Also, it’s wise to avoid fashion blogs if you’re overly sensitive and don’t handle criticism well.
I’ve been to the festival pre-kids and I plan to go this year with our young child. If you can’t bring a kid to an outdoor concert, where can you bring them? Breeding does not make you uncool. Especially since most of the acts are parents themselves. By the way, just wondering what your winning outfits were. Were you hip enough to be pictured?