The Curated Cool: Afropunk Festival 2016

Afropunk festival 2016

The sweltering heat made Afropunk’s annual summer return even more fun and colourful this year as I headed back to the music festival to scout some local creatives with distinctive looks.

The two-day music festival this year was bigger and more popular than last year with huge crowds at each of the three stages, and lines to get to each stage to see featured headliner performers including Tyler the Creator, Ice Cube, and Janelle Monae.

The festival, which aims to celebrate the Black community, drew in a crowd from across the United States. Although the festival is music-based, there was also a heavy emphasis on community and celebrating diversity with numerous banners doted around saying “This bathroom has been liberated from the gender binary”, and the festival slogan “No sexism, no racism, no ableism, no ageism, no homophobia, no fat phobia, no transphobia, no hatefulness”.



The community oriented and political statements were also sported by festival goers, who were not shy about discussing politics-especially during an important election year in the United States. The UK band Skunk Anansie used their platform to directly speak about the upcoming November election, asking the audience who they planned on voting for and urging them to get involved in the voting process. The usual music band tees were replaced by t-shirts celebrating black culture and the #blacklivesmatter movement as well as supporting black owned businesses, there were a number of black-owned retail pop-ups on site too.

In addition to politics, the style was a mash up of vibrant prints that seemed perfect for the hot temps, as well as vintage denim overalls and embellished denim. There was also a huge focus on DIY fashion, think cut-off tees, hand printed and hand woven tops, as well as pins and badges as added decor. The festival was also the perfect places to spot key beauty trends from intricate hair styles to body painting, in fact women’s lifestyle site/brand Refinery29 was there capturing all the action in its on site beauty photo booth. Want more? Look out for Afropunk as it jumps across the pond to London on September 25th with festival veteran Grace Jones, who headlined Afropunk festival Brooklyn in 2015.

Check out some of our street style from Afropunk Festival 2016 below:



























Love The Curated Cool? Check out Sarah’s latest photography and what she’s seen – follow her on Instagram @sarahsarahowen. The Curated cool is a series where our WGSN editor Sarah Owen reports on the coolest global happenings, from Art Basel to SXSW and the most innovative digital events.

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