Rave Bras – Beneath the skin of a designer

Built around the music, raves and giant festivals have grown into an entire culture. Making the pilgrimage to festivals like the Electric Daisy Carnival and Ultra Music Fest are for some attendees just as much about the opportunity to see your favorite artists as a chance to show off your own unique style and dress in the outrageous. Clothing choices at festivals stray far from the ordinary and everyday acceptable. From flower crowns to lingerie worn in the daylight, festivals and raves have invented their own fashion.

Seattle-based designer Arianne Mercer created a business out of these bold EDM fashion trends. Over the past three years, she has managed an online boutique selling custom-made outfits. Arianne’s signature piece is the “rave bra”, a piece of clothing transformed from undergarment to outer garment by the pretty rave girls of the EDM scene.

Let’s take a deeper look into how these rave bras are made and enter a designer’s studio (if you can survive the fumes of melting plastic and hot glue guns).

OTB: How did you get started making rave bras?

AM: I was fifteen years old and had been in the scene for about a year. One of my friend’s had made a rave bra that was really cute and I decided to make one for myself. I wore it to a little warehouse rave where I got a ton of compliments and a couple of girls asking me if I could make bras for them. Being fifteen, I was frustrated I was too young to get a “real job” so I figured if I can’t get a job, I might as well create one.

OTB: The idea of wearing just a bra as a top is kind of shocking. Were you surprised by how this style took off?

AM: Not really. The EDM scene is about freedom and showing this much skin is no different from wearing a bikini. No one is shocked by a bikini at the beach. Because it’s in context, wearing a rave bra at a rave is appropriate in the same way.

OTB: Your designs are amazing, where do you get the inspiration? Tell me about your designs.

AM: I like to envision different characters such as Disney Princesses. For example, I think to myself if Princess Belle was going to a rave, what would she wear? I’ve made Sailor Moon, the Cheshire Cat, Minnie Mouse, Cinderella, Tinkerbell and so many more. The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show gives me great ideas for my really luxurious bras. I get a lot of custom requests. One girl even asked me to make a wedding themed outfit. I was so happy when I found out she was getting married at EDC in Las Vegas and I would be making her wedding “dress”. Themes are really helpful to me. Since the America theme blew up last year, I made an American flag bra. For Paradiso this year, I’m making myself a sunset themed bra inspired by the unforgettable sunset at the Gorge.

Minnie Mouse by Arianne Mercer

OTB: What’s your favorite outfit you’ve made?

AM: That’s hard to say. I love my “Gold Queen” design and the one I call the “Classy Rave Bra”. These designs have gorgeous lace center pieces and look so lavish and detailed. I feel like royalty when I wear them to a show. But I would honestly wear any of them. I started making bustiers too and my “Ring Leader” is definitely a fave.

Gold Queen Rave by Arianne Mercer

OTB: I see you made a Seahawks inspired bra for the Superbowl, how did it go over?

AM: It was actually my dad’s idea. We were watching the play-offs and he suggested it would be an awesome way for Trance Tramp to show off some Seattle pride. A week before the Superbowl, I wore it to see Excision with a matching tutu and an armful of Seahawks kandi bracelets. It was a huge success, lots of people were wearing Seahawks jerseys and Excision even dropped “We Will Rock You” in honor of the Superbowl. Everyone left the Paramount Theater chanting “Seahawks!” and I fit right in.

Seahawks by Arianne Mercer

OTB: Sounds like your sports inspired outfit scored, have you made any outfits for other sports team?

AM: Not yet, but I would love to have more requests for them since they really get people pumped up.

OTB: What do you love most about designing rave outfits?

AM: I want girls to feel as if their identity is just as much art as the music and visuals surrounding them are. The freedom I feel when I’m at shows is something I like to translate into my designs. Sharing my fashion with other people makes me feel like I’m a positive influence on the scene. Festivals are places where you can be whoever you want to be for the weekend. They’re a chance to experiment with your identity and express yourself in ways you never could in real life. My boutique is built on this principle.

OTB: Do you ever hear back from your customers about their experiences wearing your designs?

AM: There is a whole section on Trance Tramp Boutique full of customers’ reviews. I also have an entire Instagram dedicated to my customers showing off how they made my creations their own. I love hearing them rave about the compliments they get and how sexy they felt.

OTB: Mainstream clothing lines are picking up on EDM fashion. What’s your opinion on this trend?

AM: It’s awesome. Like I said, freedom is a really important part of the EDM scene and now people have the opportunity to incorporate this freedom into their everyday wardrobe. My mom’s friend even wore fluffies and a tutu to the Superbowl! I mean people aren’t going to wear fluffies to work, but I do see certain elements like neon colors and floral headbands being worn more and more all over the place.  Crop tops definitely walk both lines, you see girls wearing them on the streets just as much as you do at shows. It might be subtle now, but EDM is changing our daily fashion.

OTB: What is your vision for the future of Trance Tramp Boutique?

AM: I would love to walk down a beach in California or Miami and see girls playing beach volleyball or just lounging by the pool in a Trance Tramp creation. I know it seems a long way off now, but it definitely has the potential.

You can see more of Arianne’s designs on Trance Tramp BoutiqueFacebookInstagram and the TranceTrampGirls.

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