We adore the flirty skirts and ornate outfits that have taken over festival fashion, but it wasn’t always so. Just as dance music has evolved over the years, rave fashion has evolved with it. Trends come and go, and some even morphed to appeal to the new generation of ravers.
Walking through a festival today, we no longer see the iconic phat pants and midriffs of the early 90’s. Instead, most ravers have decided to get rid of pants completely and show off even more skin.
Photo by Beau McGavin
In the early 1990’s, fashion choices within the rave community were more on the functional side. The phat pants that everyone loved oh-so-much not only looked cool when party goers danced and spun around, but they also had pockets perfect for holding your things. Phat pants along with boiler suits, overalls, smiley faces, visors, and a bit of midriff were the rave fashion highlights of this era.
Rave style by the late 1990’s and early 2000’s was heavily influenced by LA’s roots in hip hop culture. Adidas shoes and bell bottoms became a wardrobe staple along with cropped baby doll shirts. The early 2000’s was also an era where cyber style ruled the dancefloor with basic blacks and starkly contrasting UV and neon colors. Though there’s the occasional raver who still rocks those cyberlocks, it was only very popular until around 2008. It was then we saw another shift in rave fashion trends with the introduction of kandi culture. Furry accessories became more popular and party goers started integrating go-go inspired elements, such as fluffies, to their outfits. Adidas shoes made a quick comeback in street style recently, but ravers now are typically seen wearing Converse, Vans, other tennis shoes, and for the extra stylish rave fashionistas, YRU platform shoes. Though shoe preferences may have changed in a major way, raver’s fondness of neon colors from this era made it through the decade and were still pretty popular among ravers in 2010.
Fashion trends within the EDM community are constantly evolving. Today, kandi culture is still prevalent though it seems to be less appreciated by the newest members of the community. And if you look back on what was trending only a few years ago, you would see bright neon colors and a lot of tulle. Tutus are still worn by ravers today however, we’re started seeing more and more girls opt for flirty micro-skirts and micro shorts with cut outs. Many festival goers take their outfits quite seriously and even custom order or custom make unique creations for each event. The flow of creativity has even led to the introduction of plunge bras and samba bras into festival wear. Halters, pasties, and all kinds of sheer tops slowly took over festival fashion as rave bras and the go-go inspired savage wraps, while still popular, take the back seat. Boiler suits have given way to onesies and, for ladies – one pieces and bodysuits. Smiley faces of the early 90’s are still very popular and there’s even a new familiar face trending: aliens. Aliens, mermaids, hologram, and psychedelic prints are favorites in festival fashion and with the emergence of improved technology, all over prints of galaxies, illusions, and more are now flooding the dance floor. Ravers who are notorious for brightly colored neon clothing are showing a new appreciation for more pastel and earthy colors as well. More recently, simple black has become a new favorite for ravers who are taking a liking to more edgy styles. Strappy bottoms, bras, halters, and bralettes are starting to rise in popularity and can be seen at just about every festival or rave.
Although many changes have taken place in the culture of the scene and trends have shifted, rave fashion has kept true to the empowerment of self-expression and youthfulness. While ravers today may wear more revealing clothes, the inspiration comes from the same place it always has – a desire to be different, to escape reality, and the need for a creative outlet. Rave fashion is and will always be whatever you want it to be, a reflection of yourself embraced by everyone around you. There will always be trends, but festival fashion doesn’t discriminate if you’re not “trendy” and want to dress in something a little quirky…we like quirky.