From boiler suits, whistles, white gloves and bum bags to cyber pants, glowsticks, UV dummies and fluffy legwarmers, love it or hate it, Clubwear has been one of the main elements that has set the UK dance scene apart from any other emerging youth culture over the last 15 years.

From its underground routes, the freedom to express yourself in not only your dancing but in how you look has always meant that clubland has been awash with original designs and vibrant colours sometimes bordering on the outlandish.

Back in the 1990’s

The free parties and outdoor festivals of the early 90’s gave rise to such legendary names as Dreamscape, Fantasia and Helter Skelter and saw the emergence of a new breed of fashion. The neon bright colour clothes and smiley face t-shirts of clublands acid house beginnings evolved into day glow work jackets, illuminous vests and white gloves not forgetting those most essential accessories, a whistle, a horn and a tub of Vicks Vapour Rub!

In 1994, the government imposed the infamous Criminal Justice Bill which forced the free-party and underground movement into mainstream clubs, with many prohibiting this type of early rave fashion and paraphernalia which stifled much of this early free form of dance fashion expression.

In the mid to late 90’s much of the UK club fashion was influenced by the ever popular club culture of Ibiza, with the first sightings on the scene of the ever immortal clubbing accessory the Fluffy Legwarmer, as worn by many of the Balearic Islands podiums dancers at the time.

The late 1990’s

The end of the 90’s saw the emergence of the “super club”, with names such as The Ministry of Sound, Cream and Gatecrasher, taking much inspiration from the early days of Manchester’s legendary Hacienda, with UV and strobe lighting and brightly coloured décor. It was at this time that club fashion started to go back more to its original roots with club goers wearing much more brightly coloured attire, leading to the materialisation of a new type of clubbing fashion known as “cyber wear” with neon colours and UV reflective materials, early pioneers of this new clubbing trend were clubwear companies such as Cyberdog and Battery Organic.

Late 90’s to 2000

The late 90’s to early 2000’s saw a re-emergence of the outdoor festival scene and with it a need for club goers to express themselves more in their appearance, festivals such as Gatecrasher Summer Sound System, brought with them loyal groups of followers with outfits emblazoned with their club emblem, outrageous hairstyles, fluffy legwarmers, childish backpacks and lashings of UV makeup and the “Crasher Kid” was born.

The last six years, sexier & more sophisticated than ever

The last six years, has seen a big move towards much sexier and much more sophisticated clubbing clothing for the ladies, and designer t-shirts and funky jeans for the lads. Clubwear still holds the elements of the original scene but has become more creative and diverse with designers like Contagious Clubwear who did not exist 10-15 years ago leading the way in cutting edge designs, giving today’s club goer much more choice to help them stand out from the crowd.

By Claire Frances
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House of Contagious is the home of fun designer fashion, outfits that will make you stand out from the crowd and get noticed on the dance floor. House of Contagious brings you contemporary club designs from your favourite Contagious Clubwear designers giving you more choice on your special night out
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