If you think rave culture is about the music or drugs, you're so very wrong. Above all, it's about the look. And at a rave: the freakier, the finer.
Year after year, fans of EDM and friends of Molly help the culture evolve with their fashion choices at Miami's Ultra Music Festival. Even though they come from all over the damn place, certain trends emerge as dominant. Styles from the '90s have returned in the 2010s, but tweaked by a millennial crowd. Muscles are back, as are Native American headdresses, and Manic Panic hair; the same but different.
We spoke with ten folks who sported the biggest fashion trends to emerge at Ultra 2014. They gave us a peek into the mind (and closet) of the freaky fine raver.
See also: Ultra 2014's Ten Sleaziest T-Shirts
10. Weed Head
If there's one thing hippies, hipsters, ravers, and your mom can agree upon, it's that pot is fantastic.
Plenty of people were wearing their best leafy green getups at Ultra in homage to the highest herb. This Virginia gal didn't even fuck around with us. She said, straight up, she wore this outfit (picked up at Strange Vixens) because, "I like to smoke pot."
Her fashion advice to other Ultra-goers? "Less is better."
9. Unicorns Herds
When asked what she thought about white-coated, one-horned, mysterious creatures, this California chick told us, "They're the motherfucking shit!" And she's not the only one who thinks so. First thing to catch our eye on the way into the park was actually a girl unicorn.
We asked if she'd made friends with any other of her kind, and she admitted, "I just saw one, and I took a picture with him!" Unicorns unite at Ultra.
Yeah, you may think we're just pervs, but muscles are actually a style statement. At Ultra, you'll see plenty of bulging pecs -- some covered with body paint, some tattooed, and some like this West Palm Beach native's chesticles, all clean.
Though you may think muscles never go out of style, you'd be mistaken. Metrosexuality was big for a long time when the economy was booming and boys got pedicures. And we're glad to see the beef is chic again. This guy told us, "I love trap," and we weren't totally surprised. But he didn't seem like a meathead or anything. We asked him if he mostly didn't wear shirts at Ultra, he said, "No, I'm just hot as fuck. I do wear shirts, but not in this climate."
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When questioned on whether he likes his muscles, he told us, "Yes. I do. I take much pride in them." As well he should.
7. Native Feathers
Everybody -- and we don't mean literally everybody, but an overwhelming number of festival-goers -- were wearing the Native American look.
From the drummer for Basement Jaxx to this dude here, looking like a motherfucking chief is key this Ultra. Perhaps it's the peyote connect, maybe it's just that feathers and leather look good together. Either way, this is possibly 2014's most popular look.
This guy from West Palm Beach was an Ultra virgin, but he's been to other similar fests. When asked, why the Native steez, he said, "I wanted to go with a fire theme. I wanted to look like some majestic fire coming out. I saw something on Etsy, this headdress, and I was like, 'That is so amazing for what I want to do. That'll probably be the best thing for me.'"
6. Cosmic Camera
This lil' raver captured two of this year's biggest trends: the head camera and the galaxy pattern. Yesterday, there were more cameras on sticks at Ultra than there were tutus or glow sticks. (Actually, there was nary a glow stick in sight! What happened to the glow stick?) Though filming inside the fest isn't allowed for the media, partiers shot every single fist-pump and booty pop made out by Biscayne Bay. The cosmic look was also entirely rampant. And we love that trippy universe shit. It's like the Discovery Channel is on your boob or butt.
Our young lady from Miami gave us too good an interview about her well-conceived getup not to include it here:
Crossfade: Have you ever filmed before?
Raver Lass: I've never done filming. I saw everyone doing it last year, and I thought I'd join the bandwagon and get a GoPro to film it all. I've seen so many people with GoPros, it's actually ridiculous. It's just the thing to have this year, I guess!
What about the "D.A.R.E. to Keep Kids Off Drugs" Fanny Pack?
I had to pick a fanny pack with a message. I don't want anyone to pass out. I was in the crowd last year and people passed out in front of me. It was scary.
And the top?
I just went with a galaxy thing because Kaskade is on tonight and his newest album is Atmosphere. So I had to go with the Kaskade hat too.
5. Mexican Chic
Believe us or not, Mexico is the national style inspiration of choice at this year's Ultra. Seriously, there are sombreros of varying sizes on heads in the John and in line buying beer. And man, were the Mexican flags flying high. This guy combined the trends of seriously bright neon with his love of that land South of the Border. This outfit rules life.
4. The L.A. Dude
OK, so this guy wasn't from L.A. He's a University of Miami student who got his shirt at the Urban Outfitters surplus store. But this look is oft repeated at Ultra. It's the man in a bright button-down, short-sleeve shirt and shorts, looking very serious, though exuding some goofiness. Oh so very popular with the Los Angeles dudes at the festival.
3. Group Love
It's totally typical at Ultra for groups of people to dress alike. Why? Who the hell knows. But these dudes from Australia did it so they wouldn't lose each other. They plan on wearing these at Coachella in a few weeks too. But they're debuting their sweaty getups this weekend in Miami. The guy on the right told us, "You've got the exclusive."
They also touched upon the superhero trend. Plenty of folks were wearing Superman and Batman, and like these guys, Spiderman. Why? Because superheroes can do really cool things and stuff.
2. Return of Tie Dye
Just yesterday, we told someone, "No one's wearing tie dye these days to Ultra." And man, were we proven wrong.
In fact, some folks are wearing it in totally new ways, like this guy from Georgia. His Love Is Earth -- or #LIE -- outfit pairs camouflage with tie dye. Amazing.
Our tie-dye wonder told us that he models for the company and added, "I'd wear this outfit everywhere I go. Love Is Earth has a very wide variety of clothing. And Trinidad James, 2 Chainz, Mac Miller have all modeled for #LIE."
1. Purple Locks
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Hair dying has made a huge resurgence in popular culture over the past year or so. It's like a Manic Panic-ruled kingdom out there But instead of harsh colors, people are using more muted ones, with purples and grays dominating. We blame Kelly Osborne.
This curly-haired lady is from Montpellier, Vermont, where she told us that there wasn't a lot of raving going on. She's been planning her three outfits for a year. Now that's commitment.
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