Acid house fashion was outrageous and we love it - - Mixmag

Acid house fashion was outrageous and we love it

Bucket hats, bandanas and the smiley. What's to hate?

  • Dave Turner
  • 4 May 2018

Acid house wasn't just about the music. The fashion was just as important as the tunes that powered the glorious Summer Of Love.

Famous acid house clubs Shoom and The Haçienda are renowned for welcoming the 'hip' crowd, yet outrageous outfits would dominate warehouse parties and field raves, too. It's just the way it was back then.

Below we break down some of the key pieces of clothing and accessories that contributed towards acid house being one of the most important eras in dance music.

Keep smilin'.

Dave Turner is Mixmag's Digital News Editor, follow him on Twitter

The smiley

Hear the words 'acid house' and it's likely the bright yellow smiley will come to mind. It epitomises what the acid house movement and the Summer Of Love was all about: happiness, joy and euphoria. Danny Rampling says he took smiley inspiration from a designer called Benzley and soon after smileys were seen everywhere in his club Shoom. The club even had their own T-shirts emblazoned with a beaming, yellow smiley. Watch vintage videos of the OG acid house raves and you'll see plenty of smiling faces on the ravers. Makes sense really.

[Photo: Dave Swindells]

Bandanas & bucket hats

"We’re fucking outlaws, we’re going around with bandanas on our heads, dancing in the fucking street," Fabio recalled about the time acid house kicked off in the UK. A bandana being the accessory of choice could be linked to convicts or wanted men in the wild west covering their identity with one (acid house ravers were resented/ by the law after all), but we can't be sure. All we know is that we've seen plenty of snaps of them tied round ravers heads.

The bucket hat was a favourite, too, not just for ravers but for a lot of people in the '90s. You'll likely see plenty at festivals these days, too.


A classic look. One baggy ass T-shirt and ridiculously oversized dungarees, sometimes with one shoulder strap hanging down, over the top. They were never too small or tight. It gets hot as fuck when you're dancing all night long after all.

[Photo: Dave Swindells]

Anything with the words 'trip' or 'acid' on it

Acid house wasn't just a genre of music, it was a culture, too, so it's no surprise the word 'acid' made its way onto clothing. And what happens when you take acid? You trip. Hence phrases such as 'trip with aciiid' accompanying giant smileys on T-shirts and such.

Bright colours, crazy patterns

Acid house was all about vibrancy. The tunes were zingers, and so were the colours of clothing and patterns. Neon was a mainstay, as was tie-dye and anything resembling Joseph's Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.

Danny Rampling notes that the name Shoom was influenced by the feeling experienced after dropping an E and there's no doubt that looking at the zany garms only enhanced that. A match made in heaven.


Because why not? Ravers would likely be dancing until sunrise and even when in a club the strobe lighting and lasers would be rather intense (maybe to do with this).

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