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Brands Are Capitalizing on Coachella Before the Festival Even Begins

Revolve is leading the charge when it comes to consumer-facing pre-Coachella initiatives.
The revamped Revolve Social Club. Photo: courtesy of Revolve

The revamped Revolve Social Club. Photo: courtesy of Revolve

In a lot of ways, the evolution of Coachella is mirroring that of Fashion Week: It's become more consumer-facing; brand activations for digital influencers are taking over; street style is paramount; and the events are starting earlier and earlier. Increasingly, shoppers who aren't even attending the two-weekend festival can get in on the action; we noticed brands creating festival collections and edits as far back as 2014 and "festival" has only continued to evolve as a legitimate retail delivery season ever since. But this year, some brands are taking it a step further, hosting pre-Coachella shopping events throughout the week leading up to the actual event.

In Los Angeles, I've gathered, Coachella is kind of "in the air" around this time. Everyone asks if you're going; brands and publicists host strategic press previews and gifting suites where influencers and editors can pick up items to wear; and (this is not specific to L.A.) your inbox becomes at least 40 percent Coachella-related pitches. Now, consumers can get in on the action, too.

It should come as no surprise that Revolve is leading this movement. Few fashion companies have capitalized on Coachella fever as quickly and extensively as the L.A.-based online retailer; and on Friday, for the first time ever, it's opening up its members-only Revolve Social Club to the public to shop — what else? — its first Festival Style pop up. Through April 9, shoppers can purchase limited festival-focused items by brands like Ahlem, Lovers & Friends, AGOLDE, Majorelle, Schutz, Colourpop, Chiara Ferragni and Ouai.

The Social Club, which opened about a year ago, typically only hosts members of the retailer's vast influencer network, celebrities and its "most devoted customers." But it has been closed for the past few weeks for a "revamp" which will be revealed on Friday. "Festivals, music and entertainment are part of the Revolve DNA; our customer is a millennial girl, she lives in the moment, she enjoys live music, she's active on social and she's in the know," said Raissa Gerona, chief brand officer, in a statement. "It was a no-brainer to collaborate with our best-selling brands to curate a collection, offered exclusively on Revolve, of festival savvy styles for our Revolve girl to enjoy." Revolve is also hosting an open-to-the-public pop up during the festival from April 14 - 16 at the Arrive Hotel in Palm Springs, which it's taken over and dubbed "#hotelREVOLVE."

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Next Wednesday, the Standard Hotel in L.A. is hosting a "Desert Bazaar" with "everything under one roof to create the coolest festival look... with guaranteed no flower crowns​​! :)" per a release. Shoppers can come to the hotel pool to shop T-shirts, swimwear, sunglasses, denim and the like from brands including Warby Parker, Cut + Sew and something called Whatever, NBD. There's also a beauty lounge where guests can get brow shaping, eyelash extensions, temporary tattoos and, of course, "diamond bling on your tooth with Sugar Tooth Jewels." Cannabis-infused edibles will also be available.

Also on Wednesday, Victoria's Secret is holding private shopping and styling events (with Angels present, of course) for press in Los Angeles to build buzz for its first-ever Coachella activation — a two-day "Angel Oasis" in Indio featuring a number of events for invited guests.

Then, of course, there's H&M, the only brand with an official partnership with Coachella itself. It debuted its second exclusive H&M Loves Coachella collection on March 16 with a live performance by The Atomics (you know, the really attractive Smiths family's band) at its Times Square flagship. Last week, Nicole Richie hosted a festival shopping event for influencers and bloggers at the Hollywood Roosevelt, with proceeds going to charity. On Saturday, a pre-Coachella shopping event called Buchella is happening at the Rosenthal Winery in Malibu.

Meanwhile, you can already find "festival edits" at retailers including Net-a-Porter, Bloomingdale's, Topshop, ASOS and Free People. While all of these efforts are clearly timed around Coachella, most have been careful to brand themselves "festival," perhaps learning from Urban Outfitters' mistake.

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