Music Festival Fashion Trends You Don't Want To Miss
Despite the name, there’s more to EDM than mega moves and thumping beats. Electronic Dance Music is a lifestyle—a culture that embraces its followers and keeps them coming back for more. Regardless of work and family commitments, those that are dedicated to the rave scene live for the weekend and music festivals. To experience the euphoric escape, you must look the part while remaining comfortable; nowhere is this truer than at EDM festivals.
This guide covers everything that you need to know about electronic dance music fashion essentials and will have you reaching for lasers in style in no time!
In the early nineties, headwear became an important and sacred part of rave culture. Clubs across the globe were full of Dr. Seuss hats, misshapen berets, and even stranger articles of headwear that left non-ravers scratching their heads. Today’s raves still see the occasional top hat, but other items have taken the lead in the popularity polls.
Being the quintessential rave accessory, sunglasses are useful in a number of ways—in all honesty, an EDM festival just wouldn’t be the same if they didn’t exist. Of course, during open-air festivals, protection from the sun is still a major advantage for wearing sunglasses. However, when night falls over the rave scene, sunglasses and their kin serve entirely different—but no less useful—purposes.
Whether an EDM fan is wearing diffraction glasses to witness an entirely different experience thanks to the rave’s light show, or regular shades simply to blot out their surroundings and to feel comfortable enough to move like mad, you’ll never attend an EDM event that is void of sunglasses.
Flat-peaked baseball caps, known as snapbacks, have had an enormous revival in recent years. Originally released during the 80s, snapbacks are an example of how hip hop influenced rave culture as it hit cities in the States. With loose fitting and comfort being key proponents of EDM fashion, it was never going to take long for hip hop styles to add to the scene, especially in cities like LA.
You’ll spot all manner of masks at an EDM festival. From elegant masquerade pieces to construction dust masks, they all suit their own purposes—or their wearer’s style. Much like shades, masks allow ravers to hide their true persona while they lose themselves in the music. Of course, in EDM circles, it is not just the fans that wear masks—artists such as Daft Punk, Deadmau5, Redshape, and Sibot have further popularized the mask phenomena.
War Bonnets, or Native American headdresses, were once a popular item at festivals of any kind, including EDM events. They still are, in some places, however they have fell out of favor in the United States as their spiritual and cultural importance has deemed them off-limits—especially with many festivals being held on reservations. Though it is easy to understand why ravers would want to wear them: they’re aesthetically bold and really stand out among the crowd.
The Ravers Guide to Festival Outfits
The fashion and styles of EDM and its subcultures have continuously evolved, from the 90s when Paul Oakenfold and co brought the rave culture of the Balearics back to the UK, up to the modern fashion fiesta that defines electronic dance music festivals. Unlike many trends in the fashion world, the rave scene embraces old and new—you’ll still see the boiler suits and tie dyes popularized in the early days, right next to the fluffy earmuffs sported by the kandi-covered kids of the noughties.
While aesthetics are an important facet to the EDM festival scene, it is important to remember that rave clothes need to be comfortable—especially if you intend on dancing for an entire weekend!
Picture a crowd of ten thousand EDM fans at a festival. Do they all look the same? Of course not! Fans of electronic dance music come in all shapes and sizes; they’re individuals with their own unique outlook. What you will see, however, are certain “groups” of attendees—various sub-styles and fashion choices that are outlandishly different while maintaining the “rave feel.”
Old Skool Ravers
You’ll see retro rave fans at any EDM event and the scene just wouldn’t be the same without them. They bring the uninhibited feelings of the 90s to the modern day, with their boiler suits, chemical suits, workman’s outfits and more. Old Skool ravers are there for the music and the atmosphere, and what they wear doesn’t really play a part in their subculture—as long as they can cut shapes to music they like, they’re happy.
Rave Babies… and Bros
Skimpy, bright, and very outspoken—all words which define the raver babies of EDM. Bikinis, hot pants, pacifiers, ear muffs, and vest tops are the order of the day in this group of rave fans. While the majority of the raver baby scene is made up of women, you will find their male counterparts enjoying the scene, too!
The Sci-Fi and Cartoon Crowd
Some areas of the dance floor end up looking a little like something out of the Wizard of Oz and it is all thanks to the anime and science-fiction influenced dress sense of some modern ravers! Whether it is a portion of fans dressed as Pokémon, or the group by the speaker stacks that are dressed as if they came straight from a Tron race, Anime and Science-Fiction have become mainstays in the festival fashion scene.
While there are those hardcore followers of the EDM lifestyle, there’s certainly a place for “normal” attire at many modern raves. Just because you’re listening to the likes of Basshunter and Carl Cox, you don’t necessarily have to bin your entire wardrobe and start over! You’ll find plenty of fellow fans that do not live the scene—they merely enjoy it—and there’s absolutely no problem with that. The EDM lifestyle welcomes all.
Footwear for Fancy Footwork at Festivals
Of course, the comfort and style needed for attending an EDM festival doesn’t end with clothing. You can be on your feet for hours—even days—on end, so your footwear needs to stand up to the challenge. Flat soled sneakers are the only real option for those that want to dance through their festival experience; and HoverKicks are an excellent option, combining fashion and function for the ultimate in fun footwear!
Really Make Your HoverKicks Pop
Rave footwear is often combined with various lower-leg accessories that really make EDM fans’ feet stand out from the crowd. Why not try combining your HoverKicks with fuzzy leg warmers, or knee high socks, to keep people’s attention on your shuffling sneakers?
Don’t Forget Your Wellies!
The weather can be unpredictable. The forecast may claim sunshine in abundance, but reality can soon put a dampener on that! You don’t want to ruin your HoverKicks by muddying them if the rain does come down—always ensure your festival packing list includes a pair of wellington boots that you can change into in the event of an unexpected downpour!
EDM Accessory All Stars
The electronic dance music fashion revolution just wouldn’t be the same without accessories. Today’s ravers express themselves not only with the things that they wear, but with complimentary items that truly express their personalities and make their outfits pop—as if they weren’t loud enough already!
Face and Body Paint
There are two basic tropes to the face and body paint that you’ll see at an EDM festival: regular, and neon. While they’re both common, you’re more likely to see neon being used thanks to the simplicity of design needed—you’d be amazed at how different somebody could look with a few neon dots or stripes on their person!
Kandi kids are synonymous with rave culture. Most ravers will own kandi in one form or another, and many take it to the extreme but what is it? Kandi is an all-encompassing term for almost anything that can be created out of pony beads. From simple necklaces and bracelets, to complete articles of clothing, the innovative nature of kandi kids is certainly impressive!
In the mid-1960s, the US military began developing glow sticks for practical purposes and they remained fairly low-key until the 1980s, when they became a huge part of nightlife party culture. Nowadays you’d struggle to find a single EDM event in the world that didn’t have hundreds, if not thousands, of glow sticks being waved around!
Backpacks and Fanny Packs
Rave clothing doesn’t necessarily have many pockets and if it does, they’re unlikely to be very large or tight enough to keep items safe whilst an EDM fan dances the night away. That’s why many festival goers opt to wear backpacks and fanny packs to keep their belongings on their person.
What Kind of Raver are You?
With all of that in mind, one question remains: what kind of raver are you?
Whether you’re an EDM festival veteran, or this will be your first foray into large scale dance events, festival season is the ultimate chance for you to get away from reality and truly express your inner self. Maybe a skimpy raver baby get-up is exactly what you need, or perhaps you’d rather dip your toes into the scene wearing your regular wardrobe items—either way, comfort and style are central to the EDM festival culture as it continues to evolve each year.
It’s possible that there’ll be another shift during the coming festival season, and maybe you’ll be there to witness it—if so, we could be writing about your festival experience this time next year!