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How '90s Rave Culture Influenced Fashion

The rise of rave culture

'90s rave culture conjures up feelings of nostalgia, a sense of community within music, and an iconic change in fashion. Trends always come back around, and now more than ever, we're seeing pieces of '90s culture circulating around us in the sense of style, events, and nostalgia.

The '90s rave scene was a sub-culture filled with freedom, fun and friendship. Many of the main events at the time were held in places such as abandoned warehouses due to Section 63 of the 1994 Criminal Justice Act, which made raving impossible. In addition, the law forbid gatherings, and police were raiding the suburbs and outskirts of the cities, stopping any activities they considered suspicious. All of this heightened the thrill and enjoyment of raves.

The pandemic has brought about similar feelings amongst young people due to government restrictions forbidding the opening of clubs and live venues, making some people attend illegal raves again.

Rave fashion

Although many people seem to remember the music and atmosphere as the main thing about raves, the fashion worn was also a big part of it. A statement from Techno Station reads, "For a 'raver', going to a rave was not just about the music, it was about the fashion. A mixture of neon colours, tye-dye, bum bags and the smiley face logo was the raver's trademark. It seemed a statement of standing out within the confines of a club and emulating the neon or strobe lighting of club scenes."

Many of the fashion statements from the time stayed relevant throughout the years, changing club attire as we once knew it. Once upon a time, people would don smart shirts and shoes to attend clubs, yet the rise of rave culture completely altered this. Rave attire was there not to restrict anyone, but instead show individuality, less formality and allow dancers to be free of all inhibitions. The new raving mindset is what people opted to continue in their going out clothes and everyday wear.

Channeling '90s culture in your 2021 wardrobe

It is perhaps one of the most ignored subcultures in modern British history. However, rave music and the free party movement of the early '90s is coming back into focus. Here' how you can incorporate the memorable fashion of the era into your 2021 wardrobe.

Tye-dye T-shirts

Influenced by the eras before it, tye-dye T-shirts made a massive comeback in the '90s rave scene. Easy to DIY in your own home, tye-dye tees allowed rave goers to follow a particular aesthetic whilst remaining individual with their own choice of colours and combinations.

You can readily purchase various tye-dye tops today or you can follow the '90s ravers by doing it yourself.

Boyfriend-style joggers

Swapping out the previous clubbing attire of skirts or dresses, ravers started to wear boyfriend-style baggy joggers. This particular change allowed ravers to be comfortable and dance all night freely long.

This fashion option is familiar now with the rise of streetwear, typically paired with some dad trainers and a simple crop.

Bra tops

Wanting to keep as cool as possible in the rave, bra tops were an essential item of clothing to accompany some baggy trousers. This look was simple yet powerful.

Recreate this if you're feeling adventurous. Go with a pair of cargo pants and Buffalos.


Following the theme of everything being practical and comfortable, the use of bum-bags for the rave enabled partiers to carry all the essentials in a tiny place. In addition, the bum-bag allows you to hold items hands free and focus on the music.

Cargo pants

When styled correctly for 2021, the vital cargo pant truly embodies '90s rave style. Instead of low-rise styling, go for a pair with a high rise and athleisure feel. If you're feeling courageous, go bold and bright as an authentic raver would.

The future of rave fashion

With the reoccurrence of illegal raves bringing around a similar set of events as we first saw in the '90s, it is clear the future of rave fashion is here to continue and thrive.

Whether you're someone who is a nostalgic '90s rave fashion fanatic, or you love experimenting with your outfits, be sure to try some of these rave staples when you're next going out.


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