Green neon lights sway in sync with the DJ’s set while people mill around you by the thousands. You look up and find yourself in a rave, dancing unknowingly with the rhythm of the crowd around you. Even for those who have never been to a rave, these underground parties have spawned an entire culture that revolutionized the fashion industry over the past several decades.
The first thing a raver thinks about while preparing for the latest warehouse party or underground dance set is their rave outfit, and how they will present their appearance. Because the rave is a social setting, these outward displays of tribalistic tokens perform a critical function of social signaling to others within the raver’s peer group. Rave culture has developed into a mainstream fashion culture of its own, with a distinct and recognizable style.
Types of Rave Gear
Each individual’s rave outfit will contain several necessary parts and various other accessories. Besides usually flashy or skimpy clothing work to rave, such as skirts and tube-tops, some of the accessories that may be worn include:
- Skin painting
The goal when choosing rave gear is to stand out from the crowd. People attend raves to meet and attract other people, and dressing up for a night of dancing is a common way for the hip crowd to show off what they have to offer.
Just as the electronic dance music ubiquitous to raves is structured around a thumping bassline and a steady kick drum, the rave culture itself developed a unique aesthetic and society of its own. One example of this is the Kandi Kids, part of a dance music subculture that takes its name from the beaded bracelets, or “candy”, that they wear.
While raves themselves can be controversial and sometimes not strictly-legal, rave culture itself demonstrates much of the empathy and compassion that is missing in day-to-day life. This culture prides itself on following the tenets of, “Peace, love, unity, and respect”, and attempting to welcome any and all comers to its sacred spaces, the raves. These “kandi kids” take meticulous care when choosing their rave outfits, as it constitutes a primary part of their appearance.
Although it may look strange to outsiders, rave culture has more than just fashion to offer the world. What it represents is a truly hopeful vision for a more peaceful and united tomorrow, in which humanity finally comes together.