Colorful dresses, crochet hats and Instagram micro-influencers taking over your explore page: that is what one may find when they take a peek into the trendy young women’s clothing brand Revolve.
The company’s exclusive two-day festival returned during the first weekend of Coachella from April 16-17, in La Quinta, California, after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. However, Revolve left many of the two-thousand festival invitees hoping for a delightful weekend in the desert extremely disappointed.
Influencers were left stranded in the heat for hours as they awaited a shuttle to enter the festival. The only way to enter the festival was by taking a shuttle provided by Revolve, which picked up guests at an empty parking lot over one mile away from the festival’s location, NBC reports.
“There was pushing, shoving, shouting, yanking in front of the buses, people standing in between the buses ... while they were moving,” said influencer Averie Bishop. “Just to get on these buses and get to the Revolve Festival.”
Immediately, influencers affected by the chaos flew to TikTok and Instagram, posting updates throughout the weekend to detail the disorganization of the transportation and the large crowds that broadcasted Revolve’s lack of preparedness. Some said they waited for hours under the hot sun with no food or water, NBC adds.
Aside from the many micro-influencers invited, the festival also invited “VIP” guests such as Kim Kardashian, Kendall Jenner, Timothee Chalamet and more. The festival also featured performances by Post Malone, Jack Harlow and Willow Smith.
This university’s students were unimpressed with Revolve, and they were disappointed in the brand’s poor execution of such an exclusive and highly anticipated event.
“[These] micro-influencers [at revolve] are totally valid in feeling upset because they did have to wait for hours in the scorching hot heat,” sophomore communications major Kimberly Syuardi said. “The lack of communication and organization – I think Revolve should take accountability for that, especially since people like Timothee Chalamet and Kim Kardashian and Jack Harlow were treated really well at the festival.”
A fashion enthusiast herself, Syuardi is not a fan of Revolve as a brand, saying the brand looks and reminds her of Shein — a cheap, fast-fashion clothing brand — and is filled with micro-trends that these micro-influencers constantly promote as brand ambassadors.
“I think the [festival] will cause a stir in the [influencer] community… because in a way, [the festival] was click-baiting, because [they’re] setting up this false hope for potential influencers who could thrive off of collaborating with Revolve, and that’s very damaging,” Syuardi said. “It’s interesting to see how they treat certain people based on how many followers [they] have.”
Syuardi sees this festival “disaster” as not just disappointing, but harmful to influencers’ careers due to the nature of the festival and the crowd there.
“Let’s say you just got into social media, or you just started your influencer career, and you get this cool thing with Revolve, but all of a sudden, you can’t get to the festival because of the organization – things are a mess, they’re chaotic, and I think that’s very unfortunate and misleading for young people who are trying to get into that industry,” Syuardi said.
“It makes it competitive in a way because you see these celebrities there, but you can’t even get in, even though you got an invite,” she said.
Coming from a social media background, Aden Ahmad, a junior communication major with a public relations concentration, thought the company should have done better in addressing the aftermath of the incident.
“As someone who is studying communication and public relations, I thought the way they handled the pushback after the festival was really odd because they didn’t have an official company statement, they just had a representative say they were sorry,” Ahmad said. “For a company as big, and fast-growing as Revolve, I think they should’ve handled [it] much better from a public relations perspective. I think, at the very least, they should have posted on Instagram apologizing to everyone who experienced the bad conditions at the festival.”
Though the incident may have blown over soon and may not have had a lasting impact on Revolve’s reputation, Ahmad thinks there is more to say about the long-term impacts on the brand’s support system.
“I feel like [this] would affect [Revolve] a lot. A lot of the issues that came up pointed out the favoritism Revolve Festival held toward bigger name celebrities and influencers. I would expect this to cause some issues, because those aren’t the people who are actually buying Revolve’s clothing, it’s the smaller influencers who tend to be the backbone of companies like this,” Ahmad said. “I’m sure after the events, a lot of them would stop shopping at Revolve in protest of the way they treated those who [are] most likely their biggest customers at the event.”