When you see it, you know it - there’s a certain style that’s always associated with rave outfits and EDM attire. However, rave fashion didn’t emerge out of thin air. Rave fashion has evolved throughout the decades to become what it is today. Understanding where these creative EDM outfits came from can be a fun way to reconnect with the history of raves. This piece looks at the history and some of the cooler mutations of the style along the way.
The Early 90s
Exactly where raves started is hard to pin down. In the 90’s, people described some of the craziest parties as being “raves”, consequently making the attendees “ravers”. What we think of as “rave music” was closely associated with the growth of acid house music in Chicago, Manchester, and London.
A lot of the first raves were impromptu events not held in clubs or official festival grounds. Any warehouse or field could be the site of the next killer rave. Because of this, the first wave of rave fashion was all about being functional. This was the era of things like boiler suits, overalls, and phat pants. These were all funky but suitable for outside raving.
That’s not to say that people didn’t have flair back then. Acid style was in, with tie-dye jobs and smiley faces all over the place. Even at the start of rave culture, people wanted to be sending out those good vibes.
Late 90s, Early 2000s
As the new millennium approached and then flipped over, raves started to get a bit better organization. While this might make them seem more “mainstream” it did mean that you got to lose the “sketch” factor of “off the grid” raves.
During this time period, EDM outfits started to be influenced by the growing hip-hop culture at the time. By now raves had grown in popularity and were drawing their influences from everywhere and anywhere. People were also starting to get more experimental and extravagant in their rave outfits. This was the birthplace of many rave staples, such as fluffy boots, tank tops, string vests, and hair bands.
This was also the era of “cyber” fashion, where bright neon would be brought to the dance floor, contrasting with dark blacks. People absolutely wanted to be noticed out on the dance floor - and neon rave outfits were the way to do it.
Mid-2000s to Today
In the mid-2000s a lot of the markers of EDM outfits and rave culture that we recognize today started to get established. Things like fluffies, tutus, and Kandi culture started to become hallmarks of raves. Everyone is looking for new ways to add a little bit of flair.
Rave fashion has also gotten more daring and bold as time has gone on. As body positivity increases, men and women alike are more comfortable showing some skin. Bodysuits and booty shorts are definitely in.
There’s also a move to try and make rave outfits more accessible to everyone. You’ll see a larger selection of plus-size rave outfits available, as people of all body types want to look their absolute best while raving… as they should!
Interestingly, we’re also seeing a lot more diversity in color schemes when it comes to EDM outfits. People are getting more comfortable putting together the kind of rave outfit that they feel expresses them. Animal prints, holographic fabrics, and psychedelic prints are raver outfit staples. But we’ve also seen the rise of pastel prints, and even the resurgence of the old “cyber” neon on blacks.
No matter what your individual rave style is, Freedom Rave Wear has the patterns and accessories you need to express yourself. Make sure to check out all our current collections in our shop!