Evolving Rave Fashion

By: Desiree Diaz

Rave fashion has changed in a lot of different ways but has always been a way to self-express. Very much like music, it reflects a vibe in a moment or experience. Similar to music, some traditions have changed, and some have attached to us through time. Since the beginning of our rave time in the late 80s, there have been some trends that have followed throughout the decades, for example, glow, bright colors, even the style of shoes being worn. Let’s get into a bit of this history…

Our first semi-official mascot in the scene was the “acid house” smiley face. This cartoon art was on almost every raver's attire and bonded everyone who shared wearing the face. Fun fact: All thanks was to DJ Danny Rampling, who in September 87’ had gone to Ibiza to celebrate Paul Oakenfold’s birthday. Returning to London, DJ Danny Rampling decided to recreate the vibe that was felt during that celebration. He reportedly borrowed the smiley symbol from Barnzley, a designer at the Wag Club, who he had seen wear smilies. 

 

Phat pantsPhat pants rave

 

Phat pants paired with cropped tees were a big staple during these rave days and are even rocked on some OG ravers today! Men would have worn oversized colorful cartoon shirts to pair with their phat pants in sneakers or platform shoes. You would have seen these oversized pants in about every color, in jean material and some with reflective patterns. These were more functional than most outfits worn today. They looked great when dancing and normally had big pockets which were perfect for your things.  

 

Rave girl fairy Rave girl flower bra

Photo credit: @plurbby_steph   

Photo credit: @robincoppola

Around 2008 we saw a shift in the rave wear towards the go-go style which became big entertainment at festivals. Fur presented itself and was a hit at every festival. Everyone, including myself, wanted to be a go-go dancer or look like one. Fluff was in and coverage was out. This was a significant time because this trend made everyone feel comfortable in their skin. You could feel good about vibing and dancing while showing more because raves are a place where there are no judgments. Unlike the previous rave fashion trends, less was worn at events, but the bright colors and glow made it through the decades and continued trending through leg wraps and other attire. Decorated flower bras, bottoms, and headbands were being customized immensely and seen at events. An outfit could range around $100-$200 depending on the customization and tailor you went with. 

The rave culture is forever evolving but has a great purpose which makes your soul smile and it is to express YOU!

 

freedom rave wear reflective

 

Currently, in our EDM community, we are obsessed with fishnet, thong or cheeky bottoms, and halters or bralettes. This also means less room to hold things which is why a fanny pack or backpack is needed when experiencing an event. We still enjoy rocking a platform or sneaker based on your comfort. Tip: New ravers, if you are unsure how comfortable you will be in platforms it is best to rock sneakers with insoles. Remember not only will you want to be on your feet in the crowd but nothing is stopping the music from moving you. 


The most significant unwritten rule for festival fashion is to have fun in what you wear and experience to the highest. We don’t judge, it’s all love. 

What are some of your fav rave fashion trends?




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