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The History of rave fashion & cyber club wear

The rave scene always had its own fashion.  From the start of bright clothing, tie dye & smiley face wear ravers wanted to stand our in their club wear.  Things developed and by 1991/92 boiler suits, white gloves, whistles, glowsticks, dummies were quickly adopted as standard equipment.


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Some of these were practical, some enhanced the effects of ecstasy some shone under UV & laser light.

Many of these items are still with us today.  Bum bags have fallen by the way side and dummies are generally not used, whistles are less in evidence but still there.  Boiler suits, white gloves are still in abundance and have been joined by a more complicated outfit of cyber club wear with fluffy leg and arm warmers.

This is an emerged youth culture that refuses to go away after over 15 years in existence.  It is not mainstream and receives little attention these days in the national press and is often ridiculed in the trendy magazines, but those that support the scene love the statement they make and the extra fun that they have by making such bold statements for a scene.  This is sexy fancy dress!  Not many scenes have such a strong and big following.

The freedom to express yourself in clubland through the clothing was always one of the founding pillars of dance music, and original designs and vibrant colours have evolved over the years and been brought in to mainstream fashion for short periods (consider the Nu Rave fad).  During the free party years leggings were worn by the ladies and these have evolved now to small and slinky, sexy item such as hotpants, mini rara dress, figure hugging tops and more.

Bright neon coloured clothes and smiley face t-shirts (like the infamous Fantazia Smiley design) from the start of the acid house beginnings evolved into  luminous vests, luminous work jackets / vests and white gloves and accessories such as horns, whistles and Vicks.

After the governments introduction of the Criminal Justice Bill in 1994 illegal raves/legal raves were driven back into the night clubs and much of the fashion was toned down and stifled with much of the paraphernalia was banished for a time except at a small number of venues.

Then came the rise of the super clubs which once more put dance music at the for front for fashion and going out for much of the mid to later 90's.  This heralded a rise in the glamour and designer wear at club such as Gatecrasher, Ministry of Sound, Renaissance and the infamous isle of Ibiza where the fluffy legwarmers was first seen worn by many of the islands podium dancers at the time.

The cyber wear as its was to become know was soon heading back to its roots in the UK with brightly colours club wear and UV / neon reactive colours.

Festivals have also risen in prominence over the last 5 years and there now seems to be lots each season.  This has helped bring cyber club wear to a wider audience.  People at festivals like to stand out, have fun and be their alter egos at events such as Godskitchen's Global Gathering, Gatecrasher Summer Sound system, Sanctuary Festival and Creamfield's to name just a few.   Fluffy leg warmers, outrageous hair and tight fitting outfits in UV all help the cause!

Over the last 8-10 years club wear has got more sophisticated and they are not accessories any more that are available as complete outfits for the ladies and designer & print your own design t-shirts for the men.  The club wear still holds some of the original look and feel from the early 90's, but a small number of suppliers who did not exist back then now produce cutting edge UV outfits like the Cyber Slash Club wear range that Fantazia sell, ensuring that you stand out in a crowd.

Where will fashion go from now?   Things seems to be getting smaller, sexier, tighter and UV fabrics abound, it will keep evolving though and adapting to suit the needs of the rave clubbers.  With the self expression nature of the scene and the ability of the niche manufactures of club clothing to make items to order perhaps you will be the trend setter of club clothing for the future?  Let us know what you want we can get it made........

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Useful rave clubwear information:

Where does wearing boiler suits at raves come from?  
Back in the early 90s several PAs including Altern8 and Dye Witness wore chemical warfare suits during their live PAs at raves.  From there people copied the style with cheaper light versions that could be cheaply worn and then thrown away when you got hot.
Buy: White Raver Suits/Overalls

Why do people wear dust masks? 
Originally these would have been covered on the inside with vicks.  The vapours released would be breathed in throughout the night and this would act to intensify any rush/high from the Ecstasy the person had taken.  Now its more of a fashion thing.
Buy: Raver Masks

Why were dummies originally used at raves?
The effects of ecstasy can make you teeth chatter.  One way to counter this (which most people used) was to use chewing gum.  However another option was to put something in between your teeth.  Hence the dummy came about.  Some people also found that sucking intensified the rush.
Buy: Dummies

What's the point of white gloves?
Whilst using some drugs (and sometimes without), under the lights used at raves, white gloves give a great effect often leaving what is called trailers (like you get with sparklers at fireworks events).  This is quite a cool effect when dancing wildly to hardcore beats.  Glow sticks give a similar effect, but you have to carry them around.
Buy: White Raver Gloves


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