Rave fashion is always a hot topic of discussion in the EDM community. Let’s be real it’s a hot topic in general. I know this because well, I work at iHeartRaves and there are far too many times we find ourselves in the crossfire of opinions, rants, and comments, both negative and positive, on social media.
People always seem have strong opinions about rave fashion. Many times people either love it or are just too cool for it. Even a few festivals have taken a stance on the issue. CRSSD, a new festival in San Diego, California has completely banned rave apparel altogether and HARD Fest, while they don’t ban rave apparel, is known for branding their events to be solely about the music – not the culture, kandi, or fashion (although the fashion choices at these events aren’t much different). What is it about rave fashion that has people talking so much? Are people really offended? Is it because people have truly forgotten how to properly conduct themselves? Is it because people always have to feel as if they’re better than others? Is it because the internet makes it so easy to hide behind mysterious screen names and laptops? Or is it all of the above?
Some of the most common comments we get pertain to the risqué nature of rave fashion while others claim it’s not even rave fashion because the “rave fashion” they know and love is much different than the ensembles the new generation of ravers have created. I don’t consider myself the most daring person when it comes to dressing for raves. I’m not that girl who has to plan her outfits out months in advance nor am I one to handcraft the amazing creations I’ve seen many ravers wear to festivals like EDC. That being said, I don’t feel like rave fashion is something that should be seen in such a negative light no matter how risque it may be. I know, I know, I’m an iHeartRaves girl so I have to be slightly biased right? Not exactly, these were my views before I started working here and I’ll explain myself.
I get it, rave fashion is by no means conservative, but hey guys, it’s 2015. How conservative are people (ravers and non-ravers alike) in their everyday wear anyway? I’m sure it’s normal to see a bit of cleavage or midriff in casual everyday wear. Well, it’s not 1920 anymore and midriff isn’t slutty in modern day terms. People don’t even think twice about a chick rocking a cute crop top. In a previous article, I touched on how fashion choices within the rave community have changed over the years. As cultural norms and pop culture trends shifted, as did fashion trends across the board. How we dress and carry ourselves is a direct reflection of the culture and cultural trends we identify with. Just because these weren’t the norms and trends you identify with – even if you consider yourself a raver of this generation – it’s ignorant to call all ravers who dress that way sluts.
Not sure how pasties fit into the trends of this time period? It’s because you’ve overlooked political and social trends. I’m not talking about just fashion, because it’s not just about fashion trends. It’s also about the ideologies of this era. Feminism is not uncommon and women feel like they should be able to embrace their bodies as men do without being ridiculed or called slutty. Maybe it’s not for everyone, but at a festival or within a community like this one, why can’t pasties still be a form of expression or an creative outlet? This is a place where people are free to show their true colors without fear of being judged.
What rave fashion has become is simply how the culture has manifest itself as fashion choices shifted with trends of the time period. Fashion is the medium for self expression and it has always been about looking cute or feeling sexy because no one ever dresses themselves to look ugly…except maybe on Halloween. It’s not fair to condemn people for wanting to look and feel good. However, it is important to remember that it is the reasoning behind your actions that truly define it. If you’re dressing for yourself at your own comfort levels however little or much clothes that may be, it’s a form of expression. If you’re dressing to impress everyone else or just looking for attention and acting inappropriately, that’s another story.
Many times, the argument against that is “If you want sex, dress like it. If you want respect, dress like it,” and honestly that is probably the worst argument I’ve ever heard. It’s not about what we’re “asking” for it’s simply about respect. And I’m not even talking about respect through the lens of a raver or in a PLUR context, but rather respect in general. It’s really common sense, you should respect others no matter what they’re wearing or look like – all the time.
Another common argument is centered around self-respect; a girl or guy who respects themselves wouldn’t dress that way. Again, a terrible argument. Self-respect isn’t about covering yourself or appearing modest as to not tempt other people. Self-respect is understanding yourself, your sexuality, and expressing it however you’d like while still being respectful towards others. It’s about being comfortable with yourself regardless of what other people may say. And that’s a great thing.
What people have to understand is that the rave community started as a counter culture, it’s not supposed to be normal or widely accepted by all, it’s a community built on the idea that it’s good to be different. People within this community are supposed to be accepting of everyone no matter what people are wearing or look like. Again, because it is a counter culture, it is seen in a negative light mainly because it makes some people uncomfortable. People don’t like this discomfort and always have to respond, which is understandable, but this discomfort is not necessarily always a bad thing. This kind of discomfort could very well be the beginning of another revolution.
Rave fashion has become a creative outlet for many and has also helped many others become more comfortable in their own skin. It’s liberating to know that you can dress however you’d like without being judged and both men and women shouldn’t have to worry about being called a slut for it either. Some may be more comfortable in less clothes than others and it shouldn’t be an issue. Being comfortable in your own skin is a positive thing and again, I’d like to reiterate that if a person is dressing to look good and feel good in their own skin, it shouldn’t be an issue. If a person is acting inappropriately and making you uncomfortable, that’s not the same thing as someone who is dressed in a little less clothing than you’re comfortable with. And dressing that way doesn’t warrant anyone calling them a slut or any other name for that matter. But then again, the slutiness is debatable. In another piece, we’ll discuss another perspective on the issue.
Keep an eye out for part II of this collaboration between myself and one of the coolest guys I know, Chris B.
Associate Brand Manager of iHeartRaves.com & Editor in Chief of Studio 240. If you're interested in writing for Studio 240 shoot me an email at Angela@iheartraves.com!