How to Avoid Cultural Appropriation at Coachella

April 15th kicks off the start of Coachella, one of the most popular music festivals of the season. Besides the music and celebrity guests, the fashion at Coachella is one of the most anticipated aspects of the festival. Cool boho style takes center stage at the music festival, and while everyone will wear unique trends, there are some fashion trends and pieces that should be avoided. Coachella attendees have been known to culturally appropriate. For those not familiar with the term, cultural appropriation is defined as when a group of one culture, usually the dominant group, takes and borrows aspects of another culture, usually from a minority group. Yes, Coachella and other music festival goers should look fabulous and fashion forward, but it is important to know that certain trends can be deemed as offensive and inappropriate. Here are four trends you should avoid at Coachella.

1. Feather Headdresses/War Bonnets

These are usually seen quite often at Coachella, since feathers are a staple aspect in bohemian fashion. However, Native American headdresses or war bonnets are off limits. How is wearing feathers on your head offensive? Well, in many Native American cultures, war bonnets are mostly worn by men. Each feather is earned through acts of honor and courage. The war bonnet also holds spiritual, political and ceremonial meaning.

2. Bindis

The bindi is another item worn by music festival goers. Celebrities such as Kendal and Kylie Jenner, Selena Gomez, and Vanessa Hudgens were seen wearing them in past years. While bindis are beautiful, it is important to understand its cultural significance. In Hindi, the term bindi means small dot or drop, and originated in India and other Southeast Asian countries. It is mostly worn by women. The bindi holds sacred and religious importance, and represents the third eye and wisdom in Hindu culture. Bindis are also important in South and Southeast Asian marriage rituals and traditions. That doesn't sound like something that can be thrown on one's head for a music festival.

3. Burqas/Hijabs

Another "trend" seen sometimes at Coachella. Burqas and hijabs are very important to Muslim women, and should definitely be avoided.

4. Hindu Nose Rings

No, this is not the same as the small stud or ring on the side of one's nose, but the larger hoop worn by Indian women. It's another important aspect to the Hindu culture. It is often worn by women as a sign that she is married or ready for marriage. It is also believed that getting a nose ring can lessen the pains and struggles of childbirth.


Sharing cultures are great, but it must be mutual and done respectfully. Coachella is a place where people of all backgrounds can come together and enjoy music, but it's important to understand what aspects of someone's culture is acceptable and what is off limits.



I am a third year student at UGA and an intended broadcast journalism major.

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