*Header photo by Israel Chukwu *
I am ashamed to admit I have only ever been to Carnival once – that was back in 2012. The annual event is the highlight of every Londoner’s summer, commencing the official end of the season of hangovers and tan-lines. If you don’t already know, Notting Hill Carnival (often abbreviated to ‘Carnival’ or ‘Carni’) is a two-day festival celebrating Black British culture, Caribbean and Pan-African roots with an assortment of parades and events spread over the August Bank Holiday weekend. In the heart of West London, people of all ages and ethnicities come together to enjoy a variety of food vendors and sound systems playing: DnB, Grime, Afro Beats, Soca, Reggae, Jungle and Ska.
Notting Hill Carnival was founded in the 50s as a political event challenging the race riots at the time, bringing black communities together to fight against the rampant racism that existed (prompted by the then mass Commonwealth immigration to the UK). Carnival has surpassed its own expectations, seeing thousands of attendees each year. With that being said, its original meaning and message can often get lost in the opportunity for most to get shit-faced. As shallow as it sounds, people also use it as an excuse to ‘pop style‘. It is common to see more models and influencers, than costumes and floats – in which you will find them posing endlessly in lavish gear and doing the most for clout, not for Carnival itself. How many of the new-generation of Carnival-goers know its history…? I get it: you want to look good, who doesn’t? However, it’s important to not forget why it was created in the first place, and to not allow superficiality to become the centre of your experience.
Nonetheless, I have strung together four affordable outfits in both womens and mens wear. Whether you are a student, testing the style temperatures or just want to save some money, here are some affordable, simple, but effective outfits that you can wear over the Carnival weekend.
~ SHOP THE EDIT ~
Going for a streetwear style, couple this DONE London graphic tee with camo cargo trousers. The loose fit of these will leave an airy feeling, ideal for the blazing sun Carnival usually brings. Sticking with the Caribbean theme, add some subtle tropical print with the bumbag and slides. Keep accessories minimal, because you’ll be doing a lot of walking and don’t want anything too bulky or heavy. The ASOS bandana gives the outfit a perfect 90s edge.
- Alpha Industries Agent Cargo trousers – £42.49
- South Drippy Wizard T-Shirt – £25
- Eastpak Springer Brize Leaf – £22
- Nike Benassi JDI Slide Sandal (Black/White) – £19.99
- ASOS Bandana In Black Paisley, £6
- Crazy Factory Skull Ring 3S-RA3704 – £5.27
- Crazy Factory Claw Ring – £5.80
- Boohoo Man Double Layer Geometric Necklace – £2.80
- Reebok Crew Sock – £6.95
Mixing it up, opt for an ‘out-there‘ printed shirt pairing it with tapered ripped jeans and Air Max 97s for a 90s West-Coast look with a modern twist. The simplicity of the belt and necklace gives it an effortlessly stylish finish, whilst the boldness of the sunnies and hardware ring adds a fun and daring touch to it. The jeans can easily be replaced with a pair of denim shorts and the shoes with your go-to trainers.
- Nike Air Max 97 (Cool Grey/Black/White) Trainers – £144.99
- Reclaimed Vintage Inspired Short Sleeve Neon Leaf Print Shirt – £40
- Topman Light Wash Camouflage Patch Tapered Jeans – £18
- Bershka mirrored sunglasses – £9.99
- JewelryByRogue Padlock Charm Necklace – £12.06
- Adidas Originals Crew Socks – £12.95
- Body Candy Spikes Stainless Steel Lion Head Biker Ring – £14.95
- Superdry Drawstring Bag – £10.49
- Amazon Belt – from £15.68
FISHING IN THE GALAXY
Going for a more edgy vibe, clash holographic and fishnet for a textured ensemble. The iridescence of the silvers adds an eccentric element to the outfit, whilst the neutrality of the black keeps it looking classy and put-together. For accessories opt for minimalism and add a pair of 90s sunglasses. The bikini can easily be replaced with cycling shorts and a tube top if you want to feel more comfortable.
- Dr Martens Silver Pascal Rs 8 Eye Metallic Boots – £74.99
- Pretty Little Thing Black Fishnet Mesh Long Sleeved Bodycon Dresss – £12
- Hype. Silver Holographic Bumbag – £9.74
- Shein Contrast Mesh Bikini Set – £10.99
- itGirl Narrow Colourful Alien Thin Vintage Sci-Fi Sunglasses – £9.43
- Boohoo Hand & Elephant 10 Ring Pack – £8
- Shop Moon Child Maleficent Chunky Choker – £9.99
Staying true to the cultural theme, couple a Rasta style halter neck with cropped flared jeans and Sketchers, giving this outfit an authentic throwback yet feminine feel. The richness of the velvet scrunchie adds to the boldness of the look, whilst the muteness of the silver jewellery tones it down and makes it wearable. The jeans can be swapped for your everyday black skinnies.
- Sketchers Navy & Black D’Lites Trainers – £64
- The Moon Child Club Tropicana Rasta Crochet Bralet – £16
- Amazon Key Chain – £4.85
- Dread Head HQ Dragon Pewter Dread Bead – *approx* £2.88
- Bershka High Waist Kick Flare Jeans – £25.99
- Bobblelady (on Depop) Bottle Green Velvet Scrunchie – £1.80
As I end this article, need I state that Carnival is definitely not for the light-hearted or easily offended. Sunday, which is intended as the ‘family-friendly’ day is only a slightly softer version of how hardcore Monday’s parades can get. Expect to see sexual content, gyrating, dry-humping, weed-smoking and drunken behaviour. It can get wild depending on the time of day you attend, and the floats/sound-systems you are at. Please remember CONSENT is key. I cannot stress enough the importance of it; to touch another person without their explicit, informed consent is a sex crime and can lead to criminal repercussions. Additionally, make sure to use suncream, drink water regularly, travel in packs, go to the toilets with your friends, and if you witness someone harassing you, someone else, or a physical assault is taking place, tell the nearest police officer. Stay safe, have fun, and embrace the culture London tends to forget.
Notting Hill Carnival takes place on Sunday 26th August and Monday 27th August. Set times will be released nearer to the date.
WoRds by Charis Crawford Corri – Fashion Director
*Disclaimer- all products within this article have been independently sourced. Ragged Culture Publishing Ltd. is not sponsored by or affiliated to any brand or company mentioned within this article. All images used within this article have been sourced from the individual products’ websites and Google Images. Ragged Culture Publishing Ltd. does not own the copyright to the images within this article. All rights reserved.*