Confession: There was a time when I used to rave on a regular basis. It happened in my late high school/early college years, when raves were underground, loose, and plentiful. Growing up in LA, it was the thing to do. Ravers would throw on their best JNCO pants and multi-colored beads to hit up Qtopia in Hollywood or the Orion in Downtown and dance like maniacs until the sun came up—it was gross and grand all at once. I never thought that I’d find myself at a rave nearly a decade later, but I was feeling frisky this weekend and Samsung invited us to HARD Summer Festival 2012. I had to see what today’s kandi kids look like.
Since the hardcore raves of yore are near-extinct, HARD Fest is where electronic music fans get their ravey fix in a super controlled environment. Equally watered down is the partygoer’s style, which I captured with the flashy 8 mega pixel camera on the new Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone. Baggy pants and stacked beads have been replaced by neon accents and furry things. For women, yeti boots are important (Karl Lagerfeld was onto something) as are bedazzled bras. Kanye West’s shutter shades still exist. Men are less extravagant, save for a few brave dudes in wacky hats and bodysuits. Pacifiers are acceptable for both genders.
Hipsters rave-ified their looks by adding subtle thematic details, like furry glowing headgear (above, center). Someone should create glow-in-the-dark flannels to make these guys really feel at home.
When in doubt, dress normal but wear a statement backpack. I like how the guy on the left paired his Puma jacket with Yoda. As for the dude on the right, his best accessory wasn’t his Louis Vuitton belt buckle—it was his girlfriend, who gracefully channeled a stripper Eskimo.
Despite the obvious shift in raver fashion, there’s one thing that still holds true: these kids just want to dance. HARD Fest delivered.