Neat and tie-dye

The Nineties nostalgia trip takes inspiration from rave culture with a return to acid wash denim. Glow sticks optional, says Naomi Attwood


Back in the Eighties and Nineties, part of the official uniform of the acid-house raver was a tie-dyed T-shirt, the kind that a holiday to Goa, trip round the Ibiza hippy markets or, failing that, a visit to Camden Town in north London could gladly provide. Those too young to actually attend a rave during their short-lived heyday would make up for it by acquiring a powerful  Global Hypercolour colour-changing  T-shirt to parade proudly on a no-school uniform day. Ah, memories!

Acid-wash denim – and its evil sisters stonewash and snow wash – actually has its cultural roots in a completely different era – the one of power-ballad-belting, soft-rock supremos like Bonnie Tyler or Jon Bon Jovi, whose other accessories included studded power shoulders and bouffant hairdos requiring enough Elnett to put the ozone layer out of business for years to come. Acid wash of the kind those who’ve enjoyed Ryan Gosling’s latest oeuvre, The Place Beyond the Pines, at the cinema will appreciate.

However, now it’s 2013 and fashionable life is one long nostalgia fest and – this season in particular – celebration of subcultures past, the two textile effects seem to have been somewhat conflated. This textile love-in is championed by youth style icons like Topshop and House of Holland, but also by more pared-down, understated contemporary womenswear labels too. Overall, this means that there’s an abundance  of speckled, spattered, and splashily  patterned fashion to choose from. Whether you choose to wear it raving or not is, of course, entirely up to you.