Village fairs and festivals were important occasions in the life of the common people in Renaissance Europe, when they could socialize at these public venues and also market their handicrafts and other home-made products. This was an occasion for them to dress up in gaiety in the best of their clothes, to add to the festive atmosphere.
Today’s sub-culture borrows its fashion from the styles of Renaissance costumes. The flowing lines of long full length gowns, corset-shaped jackets with drawstrings, pirate-style shirts, skirts with trimmings, frills and laces with loose tops lined with brocades and frills are favorite themes of costumes inspired by the Mediaeval clothing styles. These styles are mixed with punk styles and contemporary looks to create a new style.
This sub-culture also borrows the theme of fairs from the mediaeval period. However, unlike the fairs of the period, the contemporary sub-cultural fairs are occasions to show off the Sub-cultural costumes. People dress up in their costumes, dye their hair black, shade their nails and lips in dark shades and also a=carry accessories from the mediaeval clothing such as swords gilded and studded with semi-precious stones.
In these fairs, people who follow his sub-culture also wear the specific costumes related to the famous characters from the mediaeval history and English literature. Invitations are sent out using archaic English, mentioning the names of fictional characters from literature and special gala evens to recreate the mood of Renaissance festival. This event is very popular all over the United States and especially the state of Florida is famous for these kinds of festivals.
A festival thus, is a sub-cultural expression of the people’s desire to break free of formatted lives created by the industrialized societies. At the same time, it is an occasion for the garment industry to promote the sub-cultural costumes.