In Memoriam: 90s Rave Fashion

In Memoriam: 90s Rave FashionFRW Blog

Happy Flashback Friday!

Let us never forget our history. Today we will take a moment of gratitude to thank our rave predecessors for laying the framework of rave fashion, even if it got off to a little bit of a rocky start.

The 90s are back in a big way -- you can't even walk outside without seeing a mini-backpack, a tattoo choker, or a pair of Doc Martens. Do you think these 90s rave fashion trends should be resurrected? Or did they ever really die? Let's travel back to the birth of PLUR and look at how rave fashion has changed...

1. Enormous pants

I'm not sure what the functionality of these pants was. Does anyone know? Wouldn't they get stepped on at raves? Every time I wear baggy pants, they just get caught on doorknobs and whip me around like I'm in an anti-gravity machine. I've almost met Jesus this way a few times. There are still a few rave purists wearing these, and I have a feeling those JNCO jeans are on the verge of becoming ironically cool again. Hopefully the world ends before that happens.


2. Neon everything

Neon caught a big wave in the 90s. Anyone who wears neon is basically saying, "I'm here for a good time." Vibrant colors are still very much alive and well at modern raves, but you don't really see the kind of head-to-toe neon vomit of the 90s. More ravers are opting for eye-catching textures, patterns, and even light-up apparel.  


3. Jeans?

You'd be hard-pressed to find someone wearing jeans at a rave these days. Probably because jeans have become a lot tighter in the past 20 years and just aren't that comfortable. Also--they get hot af. I imagine the reason people wore jeans to raves in the 90s is that raves were underground, spontaneous, and havens of, ahem, not-quite-legal activity. If you had to, say, ride public transportation to a rave, you wouldn't want to be caught in fluffies and a neon wig. You might as well wear a sign that says "attn police: follow me straight to the illicit drugs."


4. That one yellow smiley face

You know which one I'm talking about. This smug, dead-eyed smiley face was everywhere in the 90s. The Acid House Smiley was actually created in the 60s as an icon for an insurance company and was adopted in the late 80s by ravers in Ibiza who decided it embodied perfectly what raving is all about: happiness. From then on, "Mr. Acid House" was on everything: shirts, hats, backpacks, your grade school notebook, and--yep--pills. 


5. Pacifiers

Pretty much all rave paraphernalia in the early days of raves was directly or indirectly linked to MDMA use. I have to admit, using pacifiers to mitigate the jaw-clenching side effect of ecstasy was actually a brilliant idea. Pacifiers are still pretty popular at raves today, for that reason and also just because they make a cutesy accessory. With the advent of candy pacifiers and fashion lollipops, even sober ravers can enjoy a tasty treat to suck on while they rage. 


6. Cartoon character graphic tees

For some reason, cute, colorful cartoon characters and raving have always been inextricably linked. These days, it's Rick & Morty, Adventure Time, and Spongebob. In the 90s, it was Mickey Mouse, Looney Tunes, and Hello Kitty. It's simple, really: cartoons make people happy. Raving makes people happy. Where's the lie? I imagine that having cartoon characters on their outfits (and on their pills), made the grungy, drug-addled 90s era raves seem a little more friendly and innocuous, which surely helped raving gain popularity.


  • Alicia

    The fat pants were typically worn by shufflers. It helped make the Illusion of gliding slick.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published