Rave fashion is a huge part of the culture today. A lot of ravers put tons of time and effort into choosing the perfect look for a show. Believe it or not, when raving began in the 1980’s, fashion was an afterthought. Most people just dressed comfortably and didn’t think twice about the “vibe” their outfit gave off like we do now. We're going to walk you though rave history through its fashion, and give you some ideas for how to channel that era in a look using today's iHeartRaves styles.
The Early Days of the '90s
As raving became more mainstream, the outfits began to evolve. In the early 90’s, people were wearing a lot of loose-fit clothing, pretty much the opposite of today’s tight booty shorts. The psychedelic look was huge; everyone was sporting bright colors, tie-dye and trippy prints. The classic yellow smiley face tee became legendary in the rave community.
A lot of the 90’s rave fashion trends came from practicality rather than aesthetic. Bucket hats, which have made a huge comeback, were great for keeping people sheltered from the sun or rain. Adidas sneakers were both stylish and comfortable to dance in for hours at a time. Phat pants allowed for great mobility and a more breathable outfit.
In the mid-90’s, boiler suits became THE thing to wear to a rave. Whistles and pacifiers were also hot accessories. The Spice Girls had a major influence on rave fashion and we saw the rise of cyber-inspired looks. Visors, a 90’s fashion staple, had their moment in the rave community too.
In the Early 2000s
The early 2000s were marked by a period of time many will recognize today as the bloghouse era. This era saw the rise of acts like the Bloody Beetroots, Daft Punk, Justice and Crystal Castles, and birthed the careers of acts like Steve Aoki and A-Trak who dominated dance music in the early 2010s as a result. The fashion at this time incorporated a lot of black with touches of neon, metallic textures and spiky hair.
This was the era of plastic neon sunglasses, thick eyeliner, bits of neon and mesh that paved the way for the kandi colored PLUR vibes of the late 2000s and early 2010s. Looking at photos from the bloghouse era you can still see ghosts of rave fashion’s past with the casual outfits, blended with a few pieces of kandi starting to emerge here and there.
Raving in the 2010s
In the early 2010s, we entered an iconic era of rave fashion. This is when we started to see elements of the style we know now, including revealing outfits that featured neon colors, glitter, and fuzzy leg warmers. Every girl at the festival was wearing a bedazzled bra and a flower crown. This was when kandi really started to gain some momentum as well.
At this time EDM was heading more into the mainstream, and you started to see a lot of brands pop up that were dedicated only to rave fashion (iHeartRaves was one!). By this time, LED lights were the perfect addition to any outfit. Whether they lit up flower crowns, leg warmers, or a jacket, these lights were stylish. Anything alien related was trending, too. Think shiny fabrics, alien heads, and holographic prints.
The 2010s saw a lot of evolution in rave fashion, probably because raves and festivals really hit the mainstream with the rise of events like EDC Las Vegas and Ultra Music Festival, which really took off during these years. By the time the 2010s were wrapping up, you would be shocked to see the fluffy boots, tutus, and bedazzled bras that you saw at the rave in 2012 on a dancefloor in 2019.
Looking Ahead: The Roaring '20s
Today, there are a lot of different ways we can go with an outfit while still keeping it trendy. Rave fashion is more about expressing your own taste than it is about fitting in with the scene these days, so there are a lot of vibes u can pick from when creating ur rave look. In fact, we have a quiz just for that if u don’t know what vibe to go for.
It’s very popular to throw it back to the 70’s and get groovy with your style, or rock an all black look and cultivate an edgier vibe. Ravers are dressing in strappy tops that show off underboob and thong or cheeky bottoms. Mini skirts and ultra crop tops are also super fashionable.
In the end, it’s all about being comfortable and feeling like your best self. Although I love these trends, it’s exciting to think that in a few years there could be a whole new wave of rave fashion. No matter how much the outfits change, raving will always be a magical experience!